Daniel Paille suspended 4 games

Updated: February 4, 2011, 4:22 PM ET
By Pierre LeBrun | ESPN.com

Boston Bruins forward Daniel Paille was suspended four games by the league Friday for his blindside hit to Dallas Stars forward Raymond Sawada in Thursday night's game in Boston.

Paille had a Friday morning disciplinary hearing via conference call with league vice president of hockey operations Mike Murphy.

Normally, league disciplinarian Colin Campbell would have held the hearing. However, Campbell's son, Gregory Campbell, is a Bruins forward and was involved in Thursday night's game, in which Paille was ejected for the illegal hit to the head.

Paille
Paille
Sawada
Sawada

"Paille delivered a lateral hit where the principal point of contact was his opponent's head," Murphy said in announcing the suspension. "Additionally, the injury suffered by the Dallas player was a factor in this decision."

Paille got a match penalty for his hit on Sawada in the second period of the Bruins' 6-3 win. Sawada had lost control of the puck and as he leaned down to gain control, Paille connected with the hit to Sawada's shoulder and head.

Sawada was able to get up on his own and skate off, but did not return. Stars coach Marc Crawford said Friday morning that Sawada -- who had just gotten called up from AHL Texas -- had a broken nose and a sprained shoulder.

"Obviously it was a fast-paced play and I just recognized that Sawada was going on a breakaway and I just went over there to backcheck and get the puck but he cut back to the middle, and when you look at the play, I'm ahead of him when I hit him," Paille said Friday. "I felt that I hit his shoulder at that moment and looking at the replay, I felt that he kind of turned towards me so I wouldn't finish my check and I felt that I hit him in the shoulder."

Paille, who will lose $23,118 in salary, is the fifth player suspended this season under a new rule aimed at cracking down on dangerous hits. Paille is the first player to be banned for four games under Rule 48. Toronto's Mike Brown and Phoenix's Shane Doan were docked three games and the Islanders' Matt Martin and San Jose's Joe Thornton missed two.

The situation is particularly sensitive because of what happened to Bruins forward Marc Savard in March 2010, when he took a blindside hit from Penguins forward Matt Cooke and suffered a Grade 2 concussion and missed most of the remainder of the season. He suffered another concussion Jan. 22, and might have to be shut down for the rest of this season.

"I thought that, obviously, we're right in the forefront of this concussion-head shot thing and we're a big proponent of what the league is trying to do, and so I support that and I think we as an organization have contributed a lot to that," Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said. "[But] I though it [the sentence] was a little stiff.

"Whether or not the hit was in that danger zone -- that lateral, blind spot -- it probably was, but I really felt that he [Paille] tried to circle back and get square to the play and get in front of him. So I thought it was a little stiff, I thought maybe one or two games."

Bruins coach Claude Julien said that support for the rule is there, but at some point, players must learn to stop putting themselves in dangerous positions.

"Until the players themselves in their minds start thinking ... whether it's playing with your head down or whether it's by the boards and seeing you're going to get hit and turning your back," Julien said, "I think if the players start taking that responsibility, I think it's going to minimize a lot of these things."

Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference said after the game Thursday: "It's a bad hit, right? That's what they're trying to get rid of and you can't be hypocritical about it when it happens to you and say it's fine when your teammate does it. You hear it from every player after they do it; they feel bad. I talked to Danny and he feels bad. It's tough, that backchecking forward, to make those kind of hits. It's so hard to do it in a clean fashion with the new rules."

Paille said he had not contacted Sawada yet.

"But I would hope that he would somewhat understand and just know the type of player that I am that I don't go looking for that and I hope that he would understand that," Paille said.

He will miss the Bruins' games with San Jose and Montreal and a home-and-away against Detroit. He is eligible to return Feb. 15 against Toronto.

Information from ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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