Originally posted on NHL Hot Stove  |  Last updated 12/12/11

By Stephanie Lee
San Jose Sharks Correspondent

This year seems to be the season the National Hockey League finally turns things around by way of suspensions and fines. And by around, I mean a complete 360.

Last season, during the 2010-2011 season, Colin Campbell handed out 37 suspensions and 18 fines. This season, new League disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan has taken it a step further handing out 22 suspensions and 10 fines over the course of three months.

Shanahan’s latest victim to fall to the Shanahammer is San Jose Sharks center Andrew Desjardins for his boarding of Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Sami Lepisto. While it was reported he would face disciplinary action, Desjardins skated away with a $2,500 fine for the early first period hit.

To clarify, the NHL rule book defines Rule 43.1 – Checking from Behind as the following:

A check from behind is a check delivered on a player who is not aware of the impending hit, therefore unable to protect or defend himself, and contact is made on the back part of the body. When a player intentionally turns his body to create contact with his back, no penalty shall be assessed.”

Lepisto, who was racing for the puck, caught a cross check from behind. Assuming the NHL would adhere to the rules, Desjardins would’ve been awarded a cross-checking penalty. Instead, the referees slapped him with a boarding penalty, earning him a date with Shannahan.

Desjardins was in essence charged with breaking Rule 41.1 — Boarding, defined as the following:

A boarding penalty shall be imposed on any player or goalkeeper who checks or pushes a defenseless opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to hit or impact the boards violently in the boards. The severity of the penalty, based upon the impact with the boards, shall be at the discretion of the Referee.”

Desjardins, who split his time last season between the Sharks and the Worcester Sharks, isn’t known for sending players crashing into the boards. While in Worcester, he had 69 penalty minutes which included a few fighting majors, the pivot was not suspended for any of his actions.

So far, in the 26 games played with the San Jose Sharks, Desjardins has 25 penalty minutes. At this time there was no video made available of the play in question.

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