Monday, April 29, 2002

NHL suspends McLaren

Will sit for rest of opening round; Zednik out of hospital

The Associated Press

        BOSTON — The NHL suspended Boston defenseman Kyle McLaren on Sunday for rest of the Bruins' playoff series against Montreal for the hit that sent Richard Zednik to the hospital.

        “McLaren delivered a dangerous blow to the head of his opponent and caused significant injuries to the opposing player,” said Colin Campbell, the league's executive vice president and director of hockey operations. “Mr. McLaren clearly must be held accountable for his actions in this regard.”

        Campbell, who met with McLaren on Saturday, said he did not think the hit was a deliberate attempt to injure, and added that he took into account McLaren's reputation as a clean player.

        “I don't like being suspended, but I can't say that I was surprised by the decision,” McLaren said in a statement.

        “I would like to repeat that my action was in no way intentional, it just happened as part of the play, and I wish Richard Zednik a speedy recovery.”

        Bruins president Harry Sinden said Sunday the team did not agree with the suspension but “accepts and respects” it and considers the matter closed.

        McLaren was given a match penalty and suspended indefinitely after hitting Zednik with 1:18 left in the Bruins' 5-2 victory on Thursday night that evened the best-of-seven series at two games apiece. After the game, Canadiens coach Michel Therrien accused McLaren of a cheap shot and vowed revenge.

        He backed off those threats before Saturday's game, which Montreal won 2-1 to take a 3-2 lead. The game included only five penalties, and one power play.

        McLaren insisted he was not trying to hurt Zednik, who had a broken nose, concussion, bruised throat and cuts on his face. Zednik scored both Montreal goals in the game and is Montreal's leading playoff scorer.

        Zednik was released from the hospital Saturday morning.

        Boston led 5-2 Thursday when the 6-foot Zednik sped up the right side into Boston's zone. His head was down when the 6-4 McLaren skated toward him and reached with the upper part of his left arm, dropping Zednik to the ice. Zednik was down on the ice, unconscious, for five minutes.

        The second concussion of his career will sideline him for at least the rest of the series, Canadiens doctor David Mulder said.

        Game 6 of the series is in Montreal on Monday night, with Game 7, if necessary, in Boston on Tuesday night.


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