Antoine Roussel, you can’t do that. And now you’re going to get suspended for it.
The gritty Stars forward saw his night come to an abrupt end when he was ejected less than four minutes in to Tuesday night’s game against the Boston Bruins. He was on his second shift of the game when he crossed paths with Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid.
As Roussel carried the puck in the neutral zone, McQuaid came flying in to deliver a body check. Roussel stopped short, eluding the hit, but took offense nonetheless. Now without the puck, Roussel turned his attention – and his stick – to McQuaid. The Stars winger delivered a high, dangerous cross-check to McQuaid’s head.
Both referees’ arms shot up right away, with Francis Charron and Chris Rooney both having seen the cross-check. Roussel was immediately escorted to the penalty box. After further discussion among the officials, he was removed from the ice altogether and sent to the showers. Roussel received a five-minute major for cross-checking and a game misconduct.
McQuaid also went to the dressing room for evaluation. He was back on the ice seven minutes later, finishing the night with 16:28 of ice time.
From the NHL rulebook:
Rule 59 – Cross-checking (excerpt): A major penalty, at the discretion of the Referee based on the severity of the contact, shall be imposed on a player who “cross checks” an opponent. … When a major penalty is assessed for cross-checking, an automatic game misconduct penalty shall be imposed on the offending player. … When a major penalty is imposed under this rule, an automatic fine of one hundred dollars ($100) shall also be imposed.
Antoine Roussel has been here before. The Stars forward was fined for a sucker-punch to San Jose’s Justin Braun earlier this year. While he might not technically be a repeat offender, the Department of Player Safety certainly took that incident into consideration when determining Roussel’s punishment.
Update: Roussel Suspended 2 Games
Roussel has been suspended two games. He’ll forfeit $21,505.38 in salary as a result.
“Players often raise their sticks in a reflexive or defensive posture,” Patrick Burke of the Department of Player Safety advises, “In this case, Roussel’s crosscheck can not be classified as reflexive nor defensive.”
“Rather than simply raising his stick to block an anticipated blow from McQuaid, Roussel drives it forward and into McQuaid,” Burke continues. “He clearly raised his stick to a dangerous level and deployed it aggressively”.
The complete NHL Department of Player Safety video is below: