Brett Connolly Hit With Four-Game Suspension

Jake Cooper - 21 Dec 2021

Chicago forward Brett Connolly has been suspended for four games without pay. This after he hit Dallas Stars forward Tanner Kero full force on Saturday night, which collision appeared to knock the star unconscious.

The hit led to a major penalty and game misconduct declared against Connolly for his regrettable conduct during the first period of Chicago’s 4-3 overtime defeat in Dallas.

After Connolly had ridden Kero into the boards, the latter was removed from the ice on a stretcher before being taken to hospital. He was later on diagnosed with a concussion.

The suspension is expected to cost Connolly a whopping $70,000.

More News...Maple Leafs Player Suspended

Collision Had Been Unnecessary  

But Connolly isn’t exactly a player known for late collisions or dirty plays. In fact, Dallas Stars head coach Rick Bowness himself acknowledged this to be true when he commented on Saturday’s game by saying it had been “just hockey”. Bowness, who had coached Connolly in Tampa, said the Chicago star would never hit or hurt anyone on purpose.

Even so, Saturday night’s hit is one that should not have happened. Since Kero didn’t have the puck at the time of the collision, it’s unusual that he would have been targeted by Connolly at all.

According to Blackhawks forward Dylan Strome, hits like the one that happened on Saturday night are particularly tough to witness. Strome said most guys on the ice have families and kids back home, which makes every hit and uncertainty a scary affair.

Strome said he had not heard the arena that “silent” since the collapse of Rich Peverley on March 10, 2014. Peverley had collapsed suddenly after a cardiac event.

Hit Had Been “Unacceptable”

acceptable in According to the explanation offered by the Department of Player Safety during their post-game assessment video, the one moment that stands out as regrettable happened when Radulov turns around up the ice in preparation to make a play. 

With Kero constantly directly positioned between Connolly and the puck, the latter is at all times fully aware of his opponent’s presence. What’s more, with ample time to change his part on the ice, or even to avoid all contact completely, he still decides to ram straight into Kero. And since Kero is never even close to the puck, he is by no means ready to brace for any sort of impact.

According to the Department of Player Safety, the hope is that the collision will help indicate to the rest of the league that a hit of this nature is by no means the game.

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