Columbus Blue Jackets winger Jared Boll isn’t an every game player, so the veteran tough guy has learned to make an impact in what little ice time he does get. He may have crossed the line Tuesday, though, and a late hit on Flyers center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare could see Boll taking a seat for a few games.
Early in the second period Tuesday, Philadelphia was attempting to exit their zone when Bellemare took a short pass from Radko Gudas before moving the puck along to Ryan White. As Bellemare’s pass was heading White’s direction, though, Boll lined up the Flyers pivot and dropped him with a late hit. Bellemare was left in a heap while Gudas and White jumped in after Boll:
Thankfully, Bellemare would be able to remain in the contest, but the same can’t be said for Boll. As he skated to the penalty box, Boll was turned around by the linesman and sent off the ice, with the hit earning him a major for interference and a game misconduct. He got the gate with less than three minutes of ice time in Tuesday’s tilt. Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella was incensed by the call to boot Boll from the game.
“I don’t think [Boll’s hit] is a five-minute penalty,” Tortorella said post-game. “I think it’s a two-minute interference call. That’s a good check. We don’t want to see anyone hurt, but that’s not a headshot. I thought it should have been two minutes, quite honestly.”
Tortorella added that he was upset about Boll’s ejection in large part because he was waiting for the call and it hadn’t yet come. But even after the game was over, Tortorella still didn’t agree with the choice to boot Boll from the contest.
“This league, these are good hits,” he said. “It’s gotten so conservative as far as the bodychecking in our game that everybody gets so excited because it’s a good hit. That was not a headshot. Was it late? Yes. That’s your two-minute interference call. Too often in our game, when it’s a good, solid hit, everyone gets up in arms. That’s what’s missing in our game, honestly, as far as this new game of hockey we’re talking about.”
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety didn't agree with Tortorella's assessment, however, as it was announced Wednesday morning Boll will have a hearing Thursday for the hit on Bellemare. If Boll is suspended, it will be the second time he has been handed a ban in the past two seasons. He was given a three-game suspension in April 2015 and was suspended once before that when given a one-game ban in 2008.
UPDATE: Boll has been suspended four games for his hit on Bellemare, the Department of Player Safety announced Thursday afternoon, and director of Player Safety Patrick Burke called the hit "excessively late and incredibly forceful."
"Boll crosses over to adjust his course and ensure that he delivers a violent hit to an opponent who is no longer eligible to be checked," Burke said.