Andrew Cogliano’s iron man streak ends – and league sends a message

He’d never missed a game, but now he’ll sit for two thanks to a high hit on Adrian Kempe.

Ducks left winger Andrew Cogliano’s iron man streak has ended at 830 games, even though he’s in perfect health, and he has no one to blame but himself, unfortunately.

Saturday night’s game between the Ducks and division rival Los Angeles Kings was a chippy one. Three fights broke out before the game had even reached its three-minute mark and, just a minute after those bouts, Cogliano caught Kings left winger Adrian Kempe with this high hit:

It wasn’t the most forceful blow, but (a) it was an illegal check to the head; (b) it was interference, as Kempe was nowhere near the puck; and (c) narrative matters in this case. That the blow came right after violence had broken out between the two teams makes it especially incriminating for Cogliano. And so, despite the fact he’s never been suspended and that Kempe stayed in the game, the league handed Cogliano a two-game suspension Sunday. A reminder: being a repeat offender or injuring player never impacts whether a player is suspended. Both factors only influence the length of a suspension – after a decision has been made to suspend a player in the first place.

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And Cogliano’s streak ends at 830, slotting him at fourth all-time behind Doug Jarvis (964), Garry Unger (914) and Steve Larmer (884). Cogliano had never missed a game in his career, giving him the second-longest games played streak to start a career behind Jarvis. It’s natural to ask whether the streak remains intact given Cogliano isn’t injured – but a missed game is a missed game.

“It’s unfortunate, but a play like this is pretty self explanatory,” said NHL senior vice-president of player safety George Parros Sunday. “There was significant head contact. We had to treat it the same as we would any other play like this.”

Good on the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for not letting the emotional appeal of “preserving the streak” influence the decision to ban Cogliano. If he wanted to break Jarvis’ record, he shouldn’t have taken an unnecessary route to deliver a high hit on Kempe, plain and simple.