The Phoenix Coyotes may have been leading the playoffs for most suspended games issues, but with the announcement of today’s suspension of Martin Hanzel for one game, the ‘Yotes now take ownership of most players suspended in the postseason.
Hanzel was suspended today for one game for boarding Los Angeles Kings’ Dustin Brown in the third period. Hanzel became the ‘Yotes third player in the postseason to be suspended.
This obvious news may come to the surprise to those who follow the Coyotes regularly and are known for their less-than-average physical game. They ranked 28th of 30 in the regular season for penalty minutes per game at 9.23, and 28th in total minutes at 747.
The Flyers ranked first in the league with 1,318 minutes total and 16.07 per game.
As for hits, The ‘Yotes were represented in the regular season by Hanzal with 239 (13th) and Shane Doan 205 (25th).
As for the playoffs, Doan ranks fourth with 57 hits while Antoine Vermette ranks seventh with 46 and Hanzal has 42 at 11th.
Washington and New York have four of the top five hitters through the playoffs.
The parallel to the physical play of Hanzal and Doan, and the team’s recent suspensions is that these two are recent offenders.
Doan drew a suspension late in the season on March 23 for three games due to a boarding call while Hanzal of course is the catalyst for this discussion with today’s one-game suspension.
Meanwhile, of course, Raffi Torres drew that 25-game suspension for his hit to Marian Hossa in Round 1 of the playoffs. Torres is a middle-ground man in the penalty minutes with 83 while engaging in five fights this season.
Torres’ physical play is the peak of grit on the Coyotes roster.Rostislav Klesla rounded out the trio of suspensions in the playoffs for the ‘Yotes.
Phoenix is serving 27 games in suspensions while Torres’ 25 amounts to more than everyone else combined (18).
In the grand scheme, is it surprising to see Phoenix stand out physically? If anything, it’s the small list of bruisers who are getting the whistle blown on, and an escalated incident with Torres.
Whether or not it has affected the series against Los Angeles isn’t certain, yet, but it’s not looking good so far. And the Kings have been behaving quit well without a player suspension this playoffs.
Discipline may be the defining characteristic these playoffs, after all.