Ask Peelsy: How many matches for Brad Marchand and Marcus Foligno?

Wednesday will be a busy day for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, with Boston’s Brad Marchand and Minnesota’s Marcus Foligno likely to be called in for additional disciplinary hearings.

Daily face-to-face Resident rules analyst and longtime NHL official Tim Peel is here with his perspective.

Hey Peelsy, how many games for Marchand and Foligno?

Brad Merchant

I’d love to know what triggered Marchand on Tuesday night — because he was a top-tier agitator against the Penguins, even for him.

Marchand obstructed Sidney Crosby to retrieve a stick from the bench. He also fended off a puck that Tristan Jarry tried to deliver to a Pens fan at TD Garden. Perhaps that last incident spilled over later in the third period.

After Bryan Rust froze the game with an empty net, Marchand went on for the Penguins with 24 seconds left.

There are two parts of this footage that will be important to the Department of Player Safety.

The first, and perhaps the most critical, is that Marchand punched an unsuspecting Jarry in the face after making a save. Jarry appeared to make a comment to Marchand, but that shouldn’t matter. Jarry was hit by a gloved opponent while he was still down looking at the puck in his crease.

Jarry did not come out of the crease to participate in a scrum. It was a punch on an unsuspecting opponent who happened to be a goalkeeper.

Marchand added an exclamation mark to the streak by skating and sticking Jarry in the helmet with his stick as he came off the ice. I wasn’t as concerned with the helmet stick as I was with the punch, but that certainly won’t help Marchand’s case.

What will be interesting is the official’s perspective and his written post-game report which is filed with the league.

Referee Wes McCauley gave Marchand a minor roughing penalty and a match penalty, which is the most extreme penalty that can be given. It comes with an automatic NHL review and is usually the result of intent or attempted injury. Did McCauley consider the punch worthy of the game’s penalty, or the stick that followed to the face?

One thing is clear: Marchand is almost surely heading for his eighth career suspension and his second this season alone.

Marchand is considered a repeat offender, having already been suspended this season – three games in November for beating Vancouver’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson – which will mean a bigger hit to his wallet.

Marchand, 33, was suspended seven times for a total of 22 games, fined five additional times and lost a total of $971,397.61 in career earnings for his actions.

It’s possible the NHL will ask Marchand for an in-person hearing, which would give him the option of suspending him for more than five games. But there doesn’t seem to be much precedent for a suspension of that length. Two recent suspensions for punching an unsuspecting opponent in the head come to mind: Detroit’s Dylan Larkin was suspended one game for brutality in October; Calgary’s Milan Lucic was suspended for two games for brutality in November 2019. Again, neither of them was on a goaltender who wasn’t engaged in a scrimmage, and they weren’t Marchand.

Considering Marchand’s long track record with the Department of Player Safety…

Peel’s Verdict: 3 game suspension for Brad Marchand.

Marcus Foligno

Tempers also ran high in Winnipeg, where the Minnesota Wild were shut out for the first time this season.

At the start of the first period, two fights broke out simultaneously. Marcus Foligno and Adam Lowry faced off as Brenden Dillon and Jordan Greenway dropped the gloves.

But it was the second time Foligno and Lowry have faced each other — in the third period — where Foligno broke the rules.

After Foligno beat Lowry to the ice, Foligno appeared to deliberately knee Lowry in the head while Lowry was restrained by the linesman.

Foligno was assessed an additional two-minute minor penalty on play for unsportsmanlike conduct.

It could easily have been called a match penalty, a dangerous situation for a player. It is a dirty game that cannot be tolerated.

Sometimes a knee at the end of an altercation can easily be missed by on-ice officials. The linesmen are busy grappling with the fighters, and it’s possible the referee turns away for a split second and misses.

In this case, the call was properly made — and it was pointed out by Lowry’s father, acting Jets coach Dave Lowry — and also caught on camera.

Foligno, 29, has never been suspended or fined during his 643-game NHL career. But it’s an easy suspension for the Department of Player Safety with pretty clear and compelling evidence.

Peel Verdict: 2 game suspension for Marcus Foligno.

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