Ryan Garbutt to face hearing for knee-on-knee hit on Taylor Hall

Dallas Stars forward Ryan Garbutt will have a hearing on Thursday to answer for a nasty knee-on-knee hit on Oilers’ star Taylor Hall on Tuesday night.

As colour man Drew Remenda noted at the time, Garbutt’s leg was extended a long way out, and watching the replay it seems pretty clear he saw Hall coming.

Also doubtless factoring in here is Garbutt’s history, which includes fines and suspensions. Garbutt was suspended five games by the NHL early last season for this hit on a puckless Dustin Penner: 

That was Garbutt’s first run-in with NHL player safety, but he’d follow it up late last season with a nasty piece of stickwork on everybody’s favourite winger, Anaheim Ducks’ star Corey Perry:  

Garbutt was fined for the NHL for that incident, in addition to taking a five minute major for spearing in the game itself.

The Oilers on the ice responded fairly well to the incident, with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle both immediately confronting Garbutt. Naturally, that isn’t going to do much to dissuade a player of Garbutt’s caliber from playing the game the way he does; this is a guy who broke into pro hockey in the Central League, racking up 200-plus penalty minutes in his first campaign.

Also worth noting is that this was Luke Gazdic’s first game of the season, and his presence in the lineup was equally ineffective at preventing Garbutt from taking a shot at Hall when he had the chance. This isn’t a surprise either; pests like Garbutt have a job to do and the possibility of a heavyweight on the other team trying to goad them into a fight to even the score isn’t going to change that.

Now it falls to the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to send Garbutt the message that this sort of thing isn’t going to be tolerated. And that should give Garbutt some pause, particularly since the NHL’s Stephane Quintal identified knee-on-knee shots as an area the department was looking to crack down on: 

Garbutt’s an easy target, a low-end NHL player with a recent history of breaking the rules who took a shot at a bona fide star; it’s going to be interesting to see how much of a penalty he gets. 

A suspension is likely, with something in the two game range likely being fair based on what has been handed out for similar plays in the past: 

(And just to forestall the comments reminding me that Garbutt is a repeat offender while Hall wasn’t, injury is also taken into account. Clutterbuck missed six games; Hall didn’t miss even that many shifts.) 


  • Concussion issues aside, it seems ludicrous that teams will send out players with intent to injure stars. I mean a big hit is what it is, but this seems like a technique that specifically aims for serious injury on another player.

    Knee on knee hits shouldn’t be suspension worthy, they should be criminal. It’s insane to think of a professional league where this is encouraged.

  • Overwatchedandunderpaid

    Just a question to all the Eb haters out there. I havent been able to watch any of the games this year. Ive got all my game information from here. Ive been noticing a lot of hate towards ebs on the comments lately and was just wondering why? I know stats dont show everything but hes leading the team in points and has the same +/- as nuge. Why does he seem to have a target on his back when ive heard very little criticism towards nuge? Just a curious overseas fan.

    • Nuge has been playing well defensively, and generally driving the play, while Eberle seems to be shying away from any and all contact (and we know how well THAT always goes over in this town) and by eye hasn’t really looked good at all so far this year. I think it’s just the optics of it combined with the fact that the team is a garbage fire.

      • ubermiguel

        Plus Nuge noticeabley improved in the off-season. He’s bigger and stronger. I see him winnng more battles. Eberle seems to have stagnated; he’s not bad, just not better than last year.

    • Cain

      I think you answered your own questions there by stating that you havn’t watched any games.

      NO EFFORT should pretty much sum it up.

      Ebs was my favourite player on the Oilers. Last year he really started to taper off and this year he pretty much doesn’t give a sh*t

    • geeker99

      I in no way hate Ebs, but in IMO he does not fit on this team at this time. I have watched him since WJC”s and the guy doesn’t have an ounce of aggression in him. On the forcheck he rarely even stops, just skates on by with a little slap on the pants. You put him on Datsyuk’s wing, a fit. probably a 40 goal scorer and an allstar

      I think Nuge is growing up and becoming stronger Finally . He has always been pretty good positionally on the defensive side just to weak and lost puck battles against some big centers.

      A few years ago it was Hall I would of traded because i didnt think he was gonna live to see 22. After that clutterbuck hit I would of put the C on his chest. He and Smid seemed like the only ones who cared.

      How has Lowe not Quit? I mean how do you eat dinner with your olympic medalist wife with any respect?

    • pkam

      No need for a cross check, a Kassian swing and high stick will do.

      And you can argue it is an accident in the post game interview and disciplinary hearing, which you can’t with a cross check.

    • And here I thought the purpose of enforcers was to prevent cheap shots through intimidation, not just take an instigator penalty afterward.

      It’s almost like guys like Garbutt know that guys like Gazdic can’t do anything about them.

      • OilClog

        Well he could, if he was sent over the boards the next shift and did the same thing to Seguin.

        Maybe Gazdic can’t be an enforcer but it takes just as much skill to stick a knee out as a fist, Send Gazdic over the boards “go find a limb”

        i don’t see what would be the problem with our enforcer being a pest himself

        • The message that would have got through to Garbutt would have been a power play goal that tied the game after that selfish penalty. That message would have got through to him because Lindy Ruff would have been delivering it and if Lindy Ruff isn’t happy with Ryan Garbutt than Ryan Garbutt doesn’t get ice time.

          Yet another example of how the Oilers’ ineffective power play is costing them.

          • OilClog

            That’s not how it works and you know it, nice fantasy though.

            1. Our Powerplay hasn’t been a weapon since Krueger was told to leave.

            2. Wouldnt putting your team on the penalty kill be the same thing regardless if the oilers score or not, Garbutt made a dirty play that costed his team, why wouldn’t lindy Ruff be upset with that… Oh it’s only if edmonton scores.

            3. Seeing this team get nasty and finally retaliate would send the message Garbutt and every other players needs to learn when playing the Oilers.. Phuck with one you Phuck with us all.. Right now it’s.. You smash out our knees, we wimper.

            It’s pathetic

          • MorningOwl

            No, the appropriate response would have been targetting Seguin or Benn with a dirty/intent to injure play in response. Following is an example of why:

            I was at the game two or three years ago where the Oilers were playing Detroit and Kronwall hit Hemsky with one of his typical borderline dirty hits. The Oilers players on the ice tried to get at him but he hid behind the linesmen and his smaller teammates. The Oilers ended up getting a penalty for this. On the ensuing PP, Smid crosschecked Zetterberg head first into the boards (boarding), the ref’s hand went up, and he promptly cross checked Zetterberg down again in the back of the head/upper back. Zetterberg definitely felt it and was choked about it. Before he went to the penalty box, Smid yelled at the Wings on the ice basically telling them that if they target one of the Oilers’ skilled players the Oilers would target theirs. Down two men someone took a run at one of the other Wings’ skill guys (Datsyuk?). The message was sent. The next shift Kronwall was on the ice the Oilers sent out a tough line and someone (can’t remember who) went after him – Kronwall backed down (like usual – he is a gutless big man) and Mike Commodore took his lumps for him. The Oilers ended up winning in a shootout.

      • anyone can take a dirty run at Garbutt any time during the game. Why fight, when you can just take 2 minutes for a dirty hit. The instigator rule and fighting have no relevance. you don’t need to be an enforcer to crank someone like Garbutt with a cross check to the kidney.

        • Ryan Garbutt played in the Central League. Do you think he’s scared of the Oilers, or ever will be?

          Or try it this way. Ryan Garbutt previously took a cheap run at Dustin Penner’s head and thought nothing about giving Corey Perry the business with his stick. If he isn’t even a tiny bit scared of the Anaheim Ducks, do you think he’s scared of the Oilers or ever will be?

          • Cain

            You wanna know how to get back? They pull a knee, you pull a elbow. He sends one of yours to the doctor, you send one of his to the IR list. *That’s* the *Oiler* way! And that’s how you get Stanley. Now do you want to do that? Are you ready to do that? I’m offering you a deal. Do you want this deal?

            Quote rehashed from the Untouchables. Its not about fear its about paying some penance.

          • This issue is bigger than what Garbutt thinks. It’s about building team camaraderie. Which this team has none of. Players liks Garbutt will take runs at players it doesn’t matter to them, but you need to be able to intimidate, the intimidateble players.

            I’m sorry but your view point on this subject is the exact same as what the oilers project. And it’s not the way the NHL works. A perfect example is when Ferrence went for Kassians head, what did the Canuks do?

            What do you think the oilers should have done last night after that knee?

      • The problem is that most all “enforcers” only want to fight the heavy weight gorilla on the other team… I think its a pride thing.

        Some teams don’t have enforcers, but “Clutterbuck” like rat plays a certain role on team.

  • Harry2

    Why is Gazdic even on the team? Who gives a fiddlers F’CK if the other guy doent want to fight. When a scab like Garbutt or Kassian does something like this Gazdic sgouldnt even give them an option. Drop your gloves and knock the peice of sh’t out!!!

  • elgruntus

    Enforcers don’t work, so what’s the answer?

    Hall stood up to Cal (late hit) Clutterbuck and was suspended and it hasn’t made one bit of difference, as he’s still being targeted. If he wasn’t braced up, it probably would have ended his season.

    Two games does nothing to change these guys. Ask Marc Savard.

  • Cain

    I think Eakins was perfectly clear on how he wants these issues handled.Don’t blame Gazdic. The directive is very clear on this…

    And I quote:

    “I think our guys know when to stand up for each other. It’s a delicate balance in the game. Sometimes it’s somebody coming to your defence, and sometimes you’ve got to look after yourself as well.”

    Oiler response has already been advertised(by our”coach” no less),and exhibited, time after time,after time,after pathetic,cowardly,gutless time.

    And that’s how Eakins wants it handled.

    And here we are.In the basement,waiting for a show of emotion,but settling for acceptance/no response to cheap shots on our best players.

    But it is not a coaching problem, it is not a coaching problem, IT IS NOT a coaching problem…right Craig?

    • Everyone asks for more toughness and emotion on this team but now you’re getting all antsy when a player like RNH or Eberle steps up..

      Hell yes I want those two in the mix and anyone else on the ice. They aren’t getting into a fight, they’re standing up for their teammate who took a blatant cheap shot which could have been a serious injury.

    • Guy Lafleur

      Stepped in? WIth what, a face wash? Wow, I bet you that will put a stop to it.

      You want to know how you fix that sh*t? Your tough guy goes out and beats the piss out of the guy, that’s how. Who cares if he wont drop his gloves and he turtles. You drop your glove sand you pound the sh*t out of the guy. You lose the game because of the 5 minute penalty. And you know what? Then next time Kassian runs Ebs or Nuge you do the same thing.

      Do that once or twice and the message has been sent.

      Nobody is shaking in their boots watching that highlight last night. ‘Oh no, what a wicked facewash from Nuge. And if I survived that attack Eberle was right behind him”.

      What a joke.

  • Lumley

    Hey Willis. Just read your comments and replys. Have you ever played hockey? Just an honest question. Based on what I’ve read I would not want you On my team!

  • Keg on Legs

    If GAzdic isn’t able to oblige, then The Wagon Line should start making it “difficult” for the Seguins and Eakins to play the game. It’s been a problem for some time, Gagner gets his jaw broken, and do the Sedins ever feel any pain? No, never

  • elgruntus

    Let’s see…

    -down by one late in the game

    -team on an extended losing streak that has the coaches head in a noose

    -powerplay coming up due to a cheap shot on our star

    …just how were they supposed to respond? Blow the man advantage by seeking revenge on the perpetrator or perhaps even their star?

    Garbutt picks his spots. he knew there would be no response. But, no excuse for not going after him when he ran Fasth’s crease earlier in the game.

    If you know he likes to run around, drop him early in the game to make him a non factor the rest of the way. In other words…set the tone.

  • elgruntus

    Ive asked this on twitter with no answer so Ill ask it here. Where the hell is the accountability on the officals to make the right call. A NHL referee looked at that play and in his best judgment that was a “Two minute minor for Tripping” That is an absolute joke of a call.

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    On OTR tonite they had Downey and Bartch talking about how taking fighting and most physical play out of the game has effected the game . Both noted that the “rats” ( cheap shot artists) are now more prevalent than ever before , and are basically taking over the game and go uncontested except for the odd suspension and fine . In a nutshell it is the rats filling in for the lack of fights and physicalness of previous decades .

    Should league reinstate or revisit stance on fighting and more physical play ? Vote Cheers for Yes and Trash for NO .

  • SSB1963

    Also additional on OTR tonite Downey and Barch blame the problems with players on the coach and the things he had done to make dressing room less than adequate . Both said they would want out if they played here under his coaching , and thus expect maybe some players might soon be asking for trades elsewhere . If you agree vote Cheers , if you disagree vote Trash .

  • pynetime

    The Edmonton Oilers employ a face puncher(Luke Gazdic).

    Said face puncher was playing in this game.

    Ryan Garbutt’s face did not get punched.

    Why is Luke Gazdic playing for the Oilers?

  • JBear

    The only real deterrent is suspensions and hefty fines but I mean these are millionaires getting fined thousands of dollars. That’s equivalent to me getting a photo-radar ticket for $5. Big deal. Honestly I think it shouldn’t be up to the players to police themselves. What’s a smaller skilled team going to do to a big bruising team anyways?

    Imagine Garbutt’s fine putting a dent in his salary, think his attitude would change a bit?