- Jesse Rogers, Chicago Cubs beat reporter
- 0 Shares
That is, unless Nick Leddy makes a surprise appearance.
Nick Boynton took away the drama of the three-way battle for the two available defensive spots, at least for opening night. His mini throat slashing gesture directed towards Blair Jones of Tampa Bay on Wednesday will cost him a chance at playing. The league made it official Friday.
After watching a video the league sent out in early September about rule enforcements, it doesn't come as a surprise Boynton got a game. In the section titled Unsportsmanlike Conduct, they show a Calgary Flames player doing the throat slash from the penalty box as an example of something the league won't stand for.
Incidentally, they also use Duncan Keith's water bottle squirting of fans in Nashville during the playoffs as another example.
There's debate whether Boynton was truly doing a throat slash -- he hasn't been available for comment since it happened -- but either way, it looked bad on tape.
Perhaps adding injury to insult, he might be hurting from the fight. He missed practice on Friday due to an "upper body" injury. He did practice the day before, which leads to the possibility of a head injury that showed up, or got worse, after skating Thursday. He did take a few blows to the head in the bout with Jones.
The video the league sent out leads with the new head injury rules. It flatly states anything to the head that comes from the blind side or lateral will be a major penalty, which will include a game misconduct and possible "supplementary punishment." Straight on head shots, originating from the shoulder, and not the elbow, will be tolerated. It's up to the player with the puck to keep his head up. For example, from my perspective, the hit that Willie Mitchell of Vancouver put on Jonathan Toews last season, would still be legal.
The league also is stressing low hits to the knees. They say the "mid-section" is OK, but "clipping" a player at the knees will not be tolerated. Contact on icings will be heavily enforced as well. A defenseman going back to touch the puck for icing cannot be hit. And finally, the league is stressing any sort of pregame or off-ice altercations -- like players on the bench getting into it with an opposing player who is next to them on the ice. A pregame altercation can cost a team $25,000 and additional punishment.
For a bubble player like Boynton, who's been in a little trouble previously for taunting, this can't help his cause. He probably won't get cut specifically for the incident, but if Hendry and Scott play well opening night, then Boynton is behind the eight ball right off the bat.
The league is making sure of that.
In a minor roster move, forward David Gilbert was assigned to his junior club, Acadie-Bathurst Titan of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Nick Boynton didn't help his cause with gesture that drew suspension.