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.