NHL suspends Habs blueliner Murray for three games

 

 
 
 
 
Canadiens defenceman Douglas Murray will forfeit more than $23,000 in salary after drawing a three-game from the NHL on Thursday. John Mahoney/THE GAZETTE FILES
 
 

Canadiens defenceman Douglas Murray will forfeit more than $23,000 in salary after drawing a three-game from the NHL on Thursday. John Mahoney/THE GAZETTE FILES

TAMPA, Fla. — The Canadiens will be without Douglas Murray for three games.

The National Hockey League slapped the defenceman with a suspension Thursday for his elbow to the head of Tampa Bay’s Mike Kostka during Tuesday night’s 3-1 loss to the Lightning.

Murray, who hadn’t been suspended during his nine-year NHL career, got his elbow up and hit Kostka on the jaw as the defenceman cut inside on Murray at 17:47 of the third period. Kostka was knocked unconscious and lay on the ice at the Tampa Bay Times Forum for several minutes before regaining consciousness. Kostka skated off on his own, but it was obvious he was woozy from the hit.

After the game, Murray insisted he wasn’t a dirty player. He sent an apology to Kostka and the Lightning player said Thursday that the mea culpa was a “classy move.”

Murray’s claim that he wasn’t a dirty player didn’t cut much weight with the NHL. The league noted that Murray failed to deliver a legal check and that Kostka was injured on the play.

The suspension means Jarred Tinordi will return to the lineup for the finale of the Canadiens’ four-game road trip Friday night in Ottawa (7 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690). The Canadiens were anticipating the suspension and Tinordi was paired with Mike Weaver when the team held a midday practice in Oldsmar, Fla., before boarding a charter flight to Ottawa. Later in the day, the Canadiens recalled defenceman Nathan Beaulieu from the American Hockey League’s Hamilton Bulldogs. In 54 games with the Bulldogs, Beaulieu has six goals and 19 assists. He has two assists in 16 games with the Canadiens this season.

There will be one other lineup change Friday night in Ottawa. With back-to-back games — the Canadiens face Detroit Saturday night at the Bell Centre — Peter Budaj will start in goal against the Senators, with Carey Price getting the call against the Red Wings.

In his last start on March 24 in Boston, Budaj limited the Bruins to a single goal in a 2-1 victory, but he rejected a suggestion he could carry some momentum from that win.

“Every game is different,” the goaltender said. “Every time I go out there, I try to do my best. It was good to win that last game, but it’s a different team, a different game.”

The Senators are not in the playoff picture, but Canadiens coach Michel Therrien noted that Ottawa has a history of playing tough against Montreal and that it’s important for his team to be focused.

“We want to carry some momentum going into the playoffs,” Therrien said. “We have to play the right way.”

The Lightning has confirmed Kostka suffered a concussion and will be out indefinitely, but general manager Steve Yzerman told the Tampa Bay Times: “He’s doing really well, all things considered.”

The Canadiens are expected to play the Lightning in the first round of the playoffs and the Murray hit on Kostka raised the question of whether there would be bad blood between the teams. But the prevailing feeling in Tampa is that while Murray bears the responsibility for the hit, it is not being viewed as a malicious act.

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos described Murray as a “clean, honest player,” but said the hit on Kostka was “a dirty play.”

Stamkos added: “That’s a flying elbow right to the jaw and (Kostka) is absolutely knocked out on the ice. I don’t think anyone can argue the fact if they’ve seen the replay and multiple angles of the replay. That was a dirty play.”

Lightning coach Jon Cooper said he didn’t feel Murray was trying to hurt Kostka, but added that Murray was careless.

“Mike faked left and went right, and Douglas Murray was just reacting to get a piece of him,” Yzerman said. “Unfortunately, he got him in the head. Murray is a big, powerful man and hits hard. Things happen so quickly and it’s a reaction.”

In addition to the three-game suspension, Murray will get hit in the wallet. He will forfeit more than $23,000 in salary, with the money going to the NHL players’ emergency fund.

phickey@montrealgazette.comTwitter: zababes1

 
 
 
Font:
 
 
 
 
Canadiens defenceman Douglas Murray will forfeit more than $23,000 in salary after drawing a three-game from the NHL on Thursday. John Mahoney/THE GAZETTE FILES
 

Canadiens defenceman Douglas Murray will forfeit more than $23,000 in salary after drawing a three-game from the NHL on Thursday. John Mahoney/THE GAZETTE FILES

 
Canadiens defenceman Douglas Murray will forfeit more than $23,000 in salary after drawing a three-game from the NHL on Thursday. John Mahoney/THE GAZETTE FILES
Canadiens defenceman Douglas Murray will forfeit more than $23,000 in salary after drawing a three-game from the NHL on Thursday. Allen McInnis/THE GAZETTE FILES
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Your voice
Do you like the moves the Predators made signing Ribiero and Roy?
 
Yes, great low-risk moves?
No, they are marginal at best.
Not sure.