Winnipeg Jets forward Adam Lowry, come on down! You’re the first to get hit with the Player Safety ban hammer during the 2019-20 regular season!
Lowry has been suspended two games for boarding Flames blueliner Oliver Kylington. The hit came late in the second period of Saturday’s Heritage Classic game in Saskatchewan.
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety focused on the fact that Lowry drove right through the numbers in delivering the hit.
“Having seen nothing but Kylington’s numbers for some time,” offered the league, “he delivers a forceful hit into the back of Kylington, driving him dangerously into the boards.”
The Player Safety video mentions that Lowry defended his actions, citing the expectation that Kylington would turn up ice, making it a legal check. That turn never came. With no material change to Kylington’s position, it’s on Lowry to deliver a legal hit. Instead, he drove right through the numbers, finishing a solid check into the glass.
Referee Brad Meier, who had a front row seat to the incident, called a two-minute minor for boarding on the play.
From Rule 41 – 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.
Boarding can be called as a minor or major, depending on the severity of the hit. A match penalty can be handed out for attempt to deliberately injure.
Lowry was previously suspended for two games in March for high-sticking, forfeiting $31,362 in salary for catching Nashville’s Filip Forsberg up high. As a result, Lowry is considered a repeat offender. Instead of being calculated on a per-day basis, Lowry’s lost salary is computed on a per-game basis. This time around, he’s out $71,138.22 for the two-game ban.
Lowry joins San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane on the suspension list. Kane sat for three games after abuse of officials during a preseason game against the Vegas Golden Knights.