The Devils, who won on Friday night against the New York Islanders (I’ll post more on that later) will have to go without Mike Mottau for the next two games.
The play in question was an elbow that reached Frans Neilsen’s head, knocking him to the ice pretty hard. After Neilsen fell, additionally injuring his right knee when falling, Mike Mottau found himself in a fight with Islander Trent Hunter.
Once the dust settled, Mottau received 2 minutes for elbowing and 5 minutes for fighting. Trent Hunter received 2 minutes for instigating and 5 minutes for fighting. He was also assessed a 10 minute misconduct for instigating.
According to Tom Gulitti, Mottau had a conference call hearing with the NHL at 1:00 pm today and discovered that he will be forced to sit out Sunday against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Wednesday against the Florida Panthers.
I’m not trying to make excuses, but it looked like an accident. Mike realized that Neilsen was drifting to the right, so Mike stretched to complete his hit. At the same time, Neilsen looked to be dodging the hit so he lowered himself causing Mottau’s elbow to hit Neilsen’s head.
That plus the fact that Trent Hunter went after Mottau evened everything out.
In any event, I understand the NHL wants to make sure players understand that stuff like elbows to the head wont be tolerated.
But my count has Mottau with 4 penalties this season, two of which were last night. The other two was Interference (Game 1) and Tripping (Game 13)… not exactly up there in the Goon category.
I’m sure some will say I am simply expressing my bias to the Devils, but in actuality, I think the league has been making poor decisions like this league wide. I’m sure they feel they must make these suspensions for public relations reasons and to ensure the correct message is sent down to the rest of the players, but really, Mike Mottau?