Hockey is known as a violent sport, but there are limits to the allowed hits. Robert Bortuzzo of the St. Louis Blues is now aware of this after and is under scrutiny for a hit on Saturday. The defenseman cross-checked Nashville Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson in the back, sending him face-first into the crossbar. He also brought his hockey stick down onto Arvidsson's unprotected back.
Following this incident, the NHL Player Safety Twitter account revealed that Bortuzzo will be facing a hearing for this hit on Arvidsson. It was expected at the time that he would be suspended for his actions.
One additional factor that will be accounted for is that Bortuzzo will be considered a repeat offender. He was previously suspended for delivering an elbow to Washington Capitals defenceman Michal Kempny in pre-season action. Bortuzzo was suspended two exhibition games and the 2018-2019 season opener for this hit.
The 2nd hit is unbelievably dangerous from Bortuzzo. Virtually no protection on the lower body there (kidneys, spine, etc.$ and he came down very, very hard. pic.twitter.com/4SWsPVEJIc— Alex Daugherty (@AlexDaugherty1) November 24, 2019
In order to avoid this status as a repeat offender, the Blues' defenseman was required to avoid any further incidents for 18 months. He did not meet this expectation and was facing an absence of at least two more games, depending on the ruling of the NHL.
Following the hearing on Sunday, the NHL made it known that Bortuzzo will actually be suspended for four games based upon his illegal play. He will miss upcoming battles with the Nashville Predators, Dallas Stars, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Tampa Bay Lightning. He will be eligible to return against the Chicago Blackhawks on Dec. 2.
Bortuzzo was correctly assessed a minor penalty for the original cross check on Arvidsson. Players often battle for position in front of the net, and it is not uncommon for a player to use his stick to attempt to move offensive players away from the net… Bortuzzo's second cross check, however, is not a hockey play.
Following the hit, Nashville fought to victory, defeating St. Louis by a score of 4-2. This victory gave the Predators a 10-9 record and maintained the fifth-place spot in the Central Division. The Blues, on the other hand, are now 14-5 on the year. They still lead the division.
Arvidsson was injured on the play, and he will be expected to miss time. The Predators announced that he could be gone four to six weeks.
Photo Credit: Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire/Getty