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Hit earns Quincey a game suspension

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
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DETROIT – For the first time in more than eight years, the NHL has slapped a Red Wings’ player with a suspension resulting from an in-game incident.

On Monday, the league’s department of player safety levied a one-game suspension on defenseman Kyle Quincey for his illegal hit on Florida forward, and former teammate, Tomas Kopecky during Sunday’s game at Joe Louis Arena.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Quincey will forfeit $16,891.89. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

“You don't want to hurt anybody,” Quincey said Sunday night. “I just tried to make a good body check.”

However, Brendan Shanahan, the league’s czar on supplemental discipline, alleges that Quincey’s hit was unnecessary and avoidable.

“Quincey leaps into the air, launching himself and makes significant contact with Kopecky’s face,” said Shanahan, in his league-produced explanation video. “This is a violation of Rule 42, charging, which states, ‘A minor or major penalty shall be imposed on any player who skates or jumps into or charges an opponent in any manner.’ Despite Quincey’s assertion that he was simply bracing to counter-hit Kopecky, the fact of the matter is Kopecky never did attempt to throw a hit on this play.

“Anytime a player launches prior to contact and makes excessive contact with an opponent’s head he subjects himself to scrutiny and the possibility that he may receive supplemental discipline. We’ve taken into consideration that although Kopecky was shaken up, he quickly returned to the game and has suffered no apparent injury.”

Quincey received a five-minute elbowing major and a game-misconduct for the illegal hit to Kopecky’s head at 5:38 of the third period. The pair played together during the 2005-06 AHL season with the Wings’ minor-league affiliate in Grand Rapids.

“I don't know if he slipped, but I think he was falling when I went to hit him and his head hit me in the hip or like low here,” said Quincey, pointing to his forearm. “I just tried to make a good body check and I'm glad he's OK.”

However, Kopecky, who suffered a few significant, long-term injuries when he played in Detroit, including a fractured collarbone and a torn MCL, didn’t exonerate his former teammate for the hit.

“He just elbowed me in the face. I thought that was the kind of thing we want to eliminate from the game,” Kopecky said, Sunday night. “I don't know if he meant to do it or not … We've had meetings to try to prevent these things.”

Quincey is the first Wings’ player suspended since former defenseman Jiri Fischer sat out one game for head-butting Los Angeles forward Ian Laperriere on Jan. 22, 2004. Two weeks earlier, Mathieu Schneider served a two-game suspension for a high-stick on Boston forward Glen Murray.

The last two Wings to receive game-misconducts in the regular-season weren’t suspended. Earlier this season, Henrik Zetterberg was ejected for the first time in his NHL career following a play where the Wings’ center accidentally nudged Nikita Nikitin in the back, causing the Columbus defenseman to fall awkwardly into the boards.

Last season, forward Todd Bertuzzi received a five-minute elbowing major and a game-misconduct for his first-period hit in Chicago’s Ryan Johnson on March 28, 2011. Bertuzzi was not suspended.

However, in September, Griffins defenseman Brendan Smith was suspended for five regular-season games for his illegal hit to the head of Blackhawks’ Ben Smith. The suspension ended Brendan Smith's attempt to make the Wings' final roster heading into the 2011-12 season.

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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