Rasmus Ristolainen faces a hearing on Thursday afternoon for his hit on Jake Guentzel, but what is the appropriate action to take against the Buffalo Sabres defenseman?
Rasmus Ristolainen is not renowned for being a dirty player. One of the best ways to support this argument, is by pointing out he has never been suspended or even fined during his four seasons with the Buffalo Sabres.
However, this could be about to change. As confirmed by the NHL Department of Player Safety, the Sabres’ defenseman faces a hearing on Thursday afternoon, for his hit on the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Jake Guentzel.
The incident happened during the first period of Tuesday’s game between the Sabres and Penguins. Ristolainen received five minutes for interference and was ejected after the hit on Guentzel.
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The question is, should the 22-year old be suspended or fined as a result of what happened? Unsurprisingly, opinion is split.
For those defending Ristolainen, they refer to his aforementioned reputation. Further, they argue he didn’t leave the ice, while adding that the hit wasn’t high.
"“I don’t like the fact that he got ejected. It’s an unfortunate play. He’s stepping up on Jake Guentzel, and the puck that is coming to Guentzel is stopped by Zemgus. Guentzel is unsuspecting at that point in time. Rasmus is committed to the hit, and it’s an unfortunate hit.”"
Unfortunately for the Sabres, there are two factors which go against the Turku, Finland native. The first is that even though he was anticipating the action — which all happens so fast — he still illegally hit a player without the puck.
The second — and maybe more important — factor, is that Guentzel suffered a concussion as a result of the incident. The center is currently listed as day-to-day, as he goes through concussion protocol.
Ristolainen has been a model of durability for the Sabres, having played in 161 consecutive regular season games. However, it now seems there is every chance this streak is about to come to an end.
After reviewing the hit on Guentzel in the video above, what’s your opinion? Should Ristolainen by suspended, fined or avoid any action altogether? Share your thoughts in the comments section.