Suspension: Nino's Flesh Costs Cammalleri 1 game

B-o-d-y-c-h-e-c-k-i-n-g: How dignified, rule-abiding hockey players convey when their feelings are hurt. Matt Taormina (#38), you're doing it right.

The NHL suspended Montreal Canadiens alternate captain Mike Cammalleri one game for "a slashing incident on Nino Niederreiter." The league release did not specify whether it was the slash at Niederreiter's face or the two-handed whack at the back of Niederreiter's leg -- or the collection of both -- that drew the minimum punishment for the Habs playoff star, who apparently took offense to being checked by the rookie in a preseason game.

Many (Habs fans and toady media, mostly) amusingly claim Nino's modest check before the attack [relevant footage in this game recap post] was a "blindside" hit and even a "headshot" hit (as if that would justify using your stick as a weapon). But if that check is to be considered either blindside or headshot, then might as well call the whole sport off. (Cammalleri wasn't "blind" -- he saw Nino coming and turned away and got rid of the puck, while Nino actually let up on the check.)

My suspicion: The Habs already appeared bothered that the Islanders sent the B squad up north while keeping most of their bigger names (except Nino) at home for their only preseason game on Nassau Coliseum ice. I bet they were hypersensitive to any perceived slight, which is why their playoff hero-not-named-Jaroslav lost his head and started chasing Nino around the ice to show him he is Big Man on Campus. And sure, why not? It's not like Cammalleri was ever going to get more than 1 or 2 games, because it's not like this incident with Martin Havlat is on his record or anything.

In other Islanders-relevant news of the day, Rob Schremp joined the injury brigade with a 3-4 week prognosis for his back, and Scott Gordon spoke of the decisions that must come on Niederreiter, Calvin de Haan and others before Wednesday afternoon's roster deadline:

"Calvin and Nino will probably be discussions throughout the week. I don’t think anything is written in stone. They’re certainly showing why they were first round picks, and I think that whether they’re here for the whole season, or they’re here for nine games, or for less than nine games, or they’re gone on Wednesday, we’re happy with what we have. We just have to figure some things out with what we want to do and what’s the right decision."

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