Maple Leafs Player Suspended

Sean Brayton - 08 Dec 2021

The NHL department of player safety has been clamping down on dangerous plan hard in the last few years. Now, Maple Leafs player Jason Spezza has been handed a whopping 6 games suspension for a hit they deemed reckless and retaliatory.

NHL players are no strangers to hard knocks and every game cuts close to the bone. But there are some cases where a player takes a step too far. In this case, the Toronto Maple Leafs forward was the guilty party, and his punishment has been doled out accordingly. Some may say 6 games is a hefty penalty but clearly the department of player safety wants to set an example and dissuade other players from displaying the same behavior.

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The Offence

The infraction that’s benched Jason Spezza saw him knee Neal Pionk, the Winnipeg Jets defenceman during Sunday’s game. Spezza smashed Pionk in the head with his knee, leaving Pionk to suffer through concussion protocol following the hit.

The incident took place in the third period when Pionk tried to clear the puck away, using his hand. Spezza slammed into him, and his knee connected with his head. The Jets defenceman was taken off the ice for concussion treatment and assessment, but Spezza was not assessed a penalty on the play. This was a surprise at the time, following the severity of the hit

Hearing Prior To Suspension

Following the match, Spezza was called in for an in-person hearing with the NHL on Tuesday. A video showing the incident wa splayed and the NHL's department of player safety explained their findings and the suspension.

Not only will Spezza be out for 6 games, but he will also forfeit US$22,500 of his salary, so he’ll lose out there too.

Even without the incident, the rest of game was described as chaotic, and the Toronto Maple Leafs lost 6-3 to the Winnipeg Jets. Spazza however lost far more and will likely feel the effects for a few weeks to come.

The ream is suffering a bit of a shakeup this season and the new suspension won’t help matters much. They’ve just added forward Mitch Marner and Sandin to their injured reserve list and they’ve loaned Joey Anderson to their uses cookies to give the best experience possible. Please read our Cookie Policy for more details