Hockey

Canadiens' Lapierre suspended 4 games

The NHL suspended Montreal Canadiens forward Maxim Lapierre for four games Friday for his actions in the team's loss the previous night in San Jose.

The NHL suspended Montreal Canadiens forward Maxim Lapierre for four games Friday for his actions in the team's loss the previous night in San Jose.

Lapierre earned the suspension for a boarding play on Scott Nichol early in the third period, which somehow did not result in a penalty.

Nichol skated in alone for a chance on the Montreal net and, after hitting the post, Lapierre cross-checked the forward near the red line, with the forward sent head-first into the boards.

Nichol did not return to the game, won 3-2 by San Jose.

"The hit was dangerous, it was reckless but it was late, and that's one of the reasons he got suspended," Hockey Night in Canada analyst Glenn Healy said in the first intermission of the Montreal Canadiens-Los Angeles Kings broadcast on Saturday night.

"By the time [Nichol] is about to hit the boards, it's almost two seconds later, so that is late. It reminded me of [former Minnesota Wild defenceman] Kurtis Foster, who missed 100 games" between March 2008 and February 2009 after getting hit into boards from behind by San Jose's Torrey Mitchell.

Thursday's non-call also upset the Sharks, with coach Todd McLellan calling it a "missed call and a real dangerous play."

What upset HNIC analyst Kelly Hrudey was Lapierre's reaction.

"He almost had a smirk on his face," Hrudey said. "I was really disappointed with his reaction. He thinks it's almost funny and I don't think so."

The club said Friday that Nichol would be out of the lineup from seven to 10 days with an undisclosed injury.

Lapierre will also forfeit more than $14,000 US in salary as a result of the discipline. He will be eligible to return March 13 against Boston.

Healy is concerned about the fact Nichol doesn't have a contrtact for next season.

"If he doesn't get one because he doesn't play the last 20 games, doesn't get to play in the playoffs, that doesn't sit well with me," said Healy, a former NHL goaltender.

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