Senators forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau has been suspended one game for boarding Vancouver’s Ashton Sautner.

The hit came during the second period of Wednesday’s game in Vancouver. Sautner was hit high and from behind when he cleared the puck along the side boards. Pageau was given a minor penalty for boarding on the play by referees Francois St. Laurent and Trevor Hanson.


Sauter was helped off the ice and treated by the medical staff.  He later returned to the game.

Vancouver Canucks head coach Travis Green agreed with the penalty.

“I thought it was a good call by the ref,” said Green.

From the NHL rulebook:

41.1 Boarding – A boarding penalty shall be imposed on any player who checks or pushes a defenseless opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to hit or impact the boards violently or dangerously. The severity of the penalty, based upon the impact with the boards, shall be at the discretion of the Referee.

There is an enormous amount of judgment involved in the application of this rule by the Referees. The onus is on the player applying the check to ensure his opponent is not in a defenseless position and if so, he must avoid or minimize contact. However, in determining whether such contact could have been avoided, the circumstances of the check, including whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the check or whether the check was unavoidable can be considered. This balance must be considered by the Referees when applying this rule.

The referee can hand out a minor or major penalty, depending on “the degree of violence of the impact with the boards” according to Rule 41; the major penalty includes a game misconduct. A player who deliberately injures or attempts to injure another player by boarding is given a match penalty.

Pageau had no previous disciplinary history. He forfeits $16,666.67 in salary as a result of the suspension.