Throughout Dan Carcillo’s seven-year NHL career he has earned a reputation as an enforcer who likes to fight and throw around his body but this week it got him into trouble with the NHL, who suspended the Chicago Blackhawks forward indefinitely for a hit he made in Monday night’s 4-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers. The loss will undoubtedly hurt the Blackhawks who are unsure when to expect their enforcer back since there is no time table for Carcillo’s return as he has a pending hearing with the NHL department of player safety.
The incident occurred in the second period when Carcillo extended his arms while landing a hit on Oilers defenseman Tom Gilbert, as both players were racing for the puck. Carcillo got leverage on Gilbert – who tried to brace himself for the hit – and sent him falling into the boards, earning the 26-year-old a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct. The Oilers went on to score two goals on the ensuing power play.
Both players wound up leaving the game with knee injuries and while Gilbert is listed currently as day-to-day, it seems Carcillo’s injury could be more serious and might require surgery. Though his unnecessary hit warranted disciplinary action from the NHL, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has been happy with Carcillo this year, as he has done everything Chicago could have hoped for when they signed him to a one-year contract in July.
"His leash is definitely a lot shorter than most every player in the league. It's tough finding that right balance, but from our perspective, he's doing everything we want," Quenneville told the Chicago Sun-Times.
The suspension is the sixth of Carcillo’s career and the third of this season. He was suspended in October for a hit on Carolina Hurricane’s defenseman Joni Pitkanen in October, which came after Carcillo missed the first two games of the season as he served a suspension for an altercation with officials last postseason.
Carcillo will now miss his first return to Philadelphia, a place he spent three seasons and became a fan favorite. Carcillo will surely be watched under a microscope the next time he steps on the ice – whenever that is.
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