Not surprisingly, the topic of the day was Jarret Stoll’s one-game suspension for his hit on San Jose’s Ian White in Game 1 last night. White left the game immediately after the hit and is not expected to play tomorrow night in Game 2. Stoll had a disciplinary hearing with NHL vice president Colin Campbell and others this morning, and shortly thereafter the suspension was handed down. Stoll practiced with the Kings today in a gray jersey, along with injured winger Scott Parse, and after practice, Stoll talked about the suspension, as did assistant general manager Ron Hextall (Dean Lombardi did not attend practice and has not returned a phone message). But first, here are Terry Murray’s thoughts on the suspension, as well as Jason Demers’ hit on Ryan Smyth, in which Demers left his feet and appeared to hit Smyth in the head…
MURRAY: “My thoughts on the hit, or the league’s decision, is that we will accept the decision made by the league and get through the next game. But I want to say this. If Jarret Stoll gets suspended for that hit, then Demers’ (hit) is five times more severe, on Ryan Smyth, than what Jarret Stoll did on White. He meets every criteria that you could read about, from league memorandums. Every coach, every player, every management (member), every owner knows about it. If you travel distance, you launch yourself two to three feet off the ice and thrown an elbow at a person’s head, that is a suspension, big-time suspension. I was behind the bench when Philadelphia played in Ottawa and Steve Downie got suspended for 25 games. There is no difference in the intent of that hit.”
Question: Is it your thought that Stoll got suspended because of the result, the injury to White?
MURRAY: “I don’t know what Colin Campbell is thinking. I don’t know what other people think. They base their decision on what they’re viewing, what the circumstances are, who the people are. All I know is that that other hit is five times more severe, more intent, traveling distance, launching yourself two to three feet off the ice and a blow to the head. That is a major, long-term suspension.”
And here’s what Stoll said after practice…
STOLL: “Obviously, I’m disappointed and upset with the decision. I don’t want to miss any games, whether it’s regular season or especially the playoffs. I’m really disappointed with the decision but I respect it, and I respect Colin’s decision, to do what he did and give me the game.”
Question: What did you say on the conference call?
STOLL: “I just explained what I was thinking and what I did and the play. I was honest with them. I told them what I thought, and I think that was the best way to go about it.”
Question: What did he [Campbell] have to say?
STOLL: “He didn’t say much. There were three or four people on the call that were doing the talking. He said he would get back to us fairly soon. He acknowledged that what I said was honest, and that was pretty much it.”
Question: How tough is it to miss this playoff game?
STOLL: “It hurts, for sure. Down 1-0, that game was there for us in Game 1. We didn’t get it, obviously, but guys have got to step up. It’s really tough to miss a playoff game, for sure.”
Question: Do you think it should have been a suspension?
STOLL: “That’s not my call, that’s their call. They made it. It’s out of my hands. I respect the decision, like I said.”
Question: What are your thoughts on Ian White and his injury?
STOLL: “I hope he’s OK. You never want to see a guy get knocked out or have a concussion or miss any time. I missed a lot of time with a concussion years back, and I know what it feels like. I definitely don’t want to put anybody in that situation. He’s a good player. I played against him in junior. I know a lot about him and I just hope he’s all right.”
Finally, here are Hextall’s thoughts on Stoll’s suspension…
HEXTALL: “That’s a tough one. Me, personally, I’m disappointed in the decision, but we’ve got no choice but to live with it. That’s kind of where I’m at with it. … What I saw on the play was that Ian White hit his head on the dasher. To me, is that reflective of Jarret Stoll, or is that reflective of where he hit the boards? When I look at it, Stolly didn’t take a stride after the faceoff dot. He turned his feet at the goal line and then went in to pin the player. That’s what I saw. He hit his head, obviously, on the dasher. It’s a physical game and things happen. So I’m disappointed.”