Toronto Maple Leafs At Atlanta Thrashers: Leafs Rake Thrashers For Nine Goals In 9-3 Loss

Thrashers forward Ben Eager is out four games for his suckerpunch of Colby Armstrong.

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Atlanta Thrashers Forward Ben Eager Suspended Four Games For Sucker Punch On Colby Armstrong

The Wheel of Justice spun, and Ben Eager was on the losing side of it this time around. Eager, who you might remember took a five minute match penalty for intent to injure last night as the Thrashers played the Toronto Maple Leafs, has been suspended for four games. What makes this punch different from Milan Lucic’s punch on Atlanta defenseman Freddy Meyer? Eager had already taken two penalties – for cross checking and for roughing – in the game against Toronto. Also, if you watch this clip of the punch, you can clearly see Eager trying to run Armstrong, who moved at the last second:

Lucic’s punch was more out of frustration on a hit placed on him by Meyer – it wasn’t pre-meditated. Eager’s more than likely was. Also, Eager has a suspension history.

The AJC’s Chris Vivlamore got this quote from Eager regarding the suspension:

“I’m surprised in one way, but there is no parity in these suspensions that are handed out,” Eager said Saturday. “The last two incidents I’ve seen, they knocked a guy out with no glove on and get no fine. The Lucic incident, he suckers a guy who’s not even looking, with no glove on, and he gets fined $2,500. Then Jody Shelley does the same thing to a guy who is watching and he gets two games. I get four [games] somehow for hitting a guy with my glove on, that is looking right in my face. We are looking eye to eye. I guess [NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell] wanted a quiet weekend. He didn’t want the Toronto media calling him all weekend. He did what he had to do.

“It is what it is. It’s four games. I will deal with it and move on.”

This leaves the depleted Thrashers with no choice but to call up Tim Stapleton and another forward. Evander Kane, Jim Slater, and now Freddy Modin are all injured, and Ben Eager took himself out of the lineup with his mistake.

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Toronto Maple Leafs At Atlanta Thrashers Final Score: 9-3 Drubbing Of Thrash By Leafs

I can’t coherently recap tonight’s game courtesy of a headache that might be caused by, oddly enough, tonight’s game. The Thrashers allowed a team to get inside of their heads without even dominating the skill game, and they got checked off the puck and out of Philips Arena. The offense, defense, goaltending… hardly anything was right.

Positives of the night:

- Tobias Enstrom scored his 8th goal of the season
- Patrice Cormier scored his first NHL goal and finished +2
- Chris Thorburn also finished a +2 on the night
- Andrew Ladd scored his 14th goal of the season

Negatives of the night? Just look at the boxscore. Atlanta allowed five powerplay goals, all on Ben Eager penalties – one on a double minor for roughing and cross checking, and four on this match penalty for intent to injure that will get Eager suspended for a few games:

Nothing went well for the team tonight. Goaltending, well, switching from Pavelec to Mason to Pavelec back to Mason was probably not well advised. Defense? Byfuglien and Enstrom were solid and finished a +1, but overall the defense had a rough night. The worst thing, though, was that two doofy penalties by Ben Eager dictated the tempo and momentum of the game, distracted the Thrashers even worse than they already were (if that was possible), and brought completely negative attention on a team that has been working hard to command the respect of the league.

Other teams know that the loss is just a loss, and while embarrassing, will be overcome easily Sunday in Carolina. But what Ben Eager did is already front and center over at Puck Daddy, NBC’s Pro Hockey Talk, and NHL Fanhouse. The news of the suspension he’ll get will be just as public.

Eager’s move was inappropriate, and will more than likely be disciplined by the league. The reaction from the Thrashers remains to be seen.

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