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MacArthur Disappointed With NHL's Ruling

Saturday, 10.1.2011 / 11:00 PM ET / Mike Ulmer's Blog
By Mike Ulmer  - Mapleleafs.com commentator
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MacArthur Disappointed With NHL\'s Ruling

Clarke MacArthur, the NHL’s latest suspended player, is worried the extraordinary vigilance directed toward preventing head injuries could take hitting out of the game.

MacArthur was suspended for his actions in Friday’s preseason game against Detroit. He will miss the first two games of the regular season because of his hit on Justin Abdelkader.

A member of the Leafs most productive line with Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski, McArthur won’t be eligible to return until October 15 when the Leafs host the Calgary Flames.

The lost pay, forfeited to the league’s emergency fund for former players amounts to $35,135. He is the ninth player suspended in the pre-season.

MacArthur incurred 32 minutes in penalties in 82 games last year has never been suspended but in the words of Brendan Shanahan, senior vice-president of player safety, “going forward he will be considered a repeat offender.”

Shanahan said he ordered the suspension because Abdelkader’s head was the first point of contact and his head position was static in the milliseconds before the hit.

But MacArthur said he was aiming for Abdelkader’s chest and noted the Detroit forward was sound enough to attack him a few seconds after the hit.

MacArthur’s beef is that the puckhandler’s responsibility to protect himself has been thrown out, a point Shanahan would no doubt endorse.

“There isn’t going to be any hitting,” MacArthur said. “Not if there is going to be five or 10 game suspensions.”

The timing, MacArthur said, was dreadful. “It’s two games but because of the way it falls, it’s really two weeks. I barely hit him. I guess it’s just one of those things but it’s very disappointing.”

The Leafs open their season Thursday with a home date against the Montreal Canadiens.

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