The Chilliwack Chiefs will be without the services of their leading scorer for the next four games.
Forward Kevin Wall was banished from Sunday’s 7-2 home ice win over Trail after delivering a hit on Smoke Eaters defenceman on Diarmad DiMurro.
Wall was given a blow-to-the-head major and a game misconduct. DiMurro was helped off the ice with a cut on his face, but did return to the game.
It’s the second major Wall has earned this season, following hot on the heels of a checking-from-behind penalty taken during a Nov. 30 road game at Surrey.
Wall was suspended two games for the first one and the second one carries an automatic four gamer.
Wall had two games added onto that after the league reviewed the hit, so make it six.
The New York native will miss two divisional road games this weekend versus the Coquitlam Express (Friday) and Langley Rivermen (Saturday).
Following the Christmas break he’ll miss Dec. 29 and Jan. 5 home games against the Express, a Jan. 11 road game at Coquitlam and a Jan. 12 home game versus Surrey.
“It’s a tough one because if the kid (DiMurro) doesn’t hit his head on the dasher along the wall as he goes down, he’s probably fine,” said Chilliwack head coach Brian Maloney. “But that’s just the way it is because that’s what they (referees) are looking for now.
“The original call on Kevin was boarding and it wasn’t a major. It turned into a major because he (DiMurro) hit his head and got hurt.”
Wall hit DiMurro in the neutral zone, a split second after the puck had left his stick.
DiMurro was turned slightly to the left, and Wall made shoulder-to-shoulder contact.
He didn’t actually hit the Trail player’s head at any point. As Maloney noted, DiMurro’s head hit the boards as he went down.
“The ruling’s a bit concerning because you can be hurt by a tripping call if you somehow hit your head, and then it gets called a blow to the head,” Maloney mused. “It’s super confusing.
“I think the rule should be, if there’s contact to the head it should be a blow to the head penalty. But if you get hit and you go down and hit your head on the ice or whatever, it shouldn’t be a blow to the head.”
Malone, who was a physical player in his day, has sounded increasingly frustrated about the way hitting is being removed from the game, and this is one more thing to drive the bench boss batty.
“Today’s game isn’t about hitting any more. It’s about stick positioning and angling,” he said, sounding very unimpressed. “I don’t know what to teach my guys now about what they can and can’t do when they’re trying to play physical.
“Honestly, the way it’s being called now is kind of promoting kids going down and playing dead.”
The good news is Maloney’s crew has gone 3-0 in games without Wall, so they can survive.
“But here’s a kid who might get drafted by an NHL team and should be out there promoting our league, and we can’t keep him in the lineup because of some calls,” Maloney said.