|Daniel Paille disagrees that controversial play was a blindside hit||02.04.11 at 1:59 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Daniel Paille clearly regrets that his hit on Stars forward Raymond Sawata (video) took place on Thursday, but after being suspended for four games, he doesn’t agree that the play was a blindside hit.
“It was a fast-paced play. I just recognized that Sawata was going on a breakaway, and I just went over to backcheck and get the puck, but he cut back to the middle,” Paille said following Bruins’ practice Friday. “If you look the play, I’m ahead of him when I hit him, and I felt that I hit his shoulder at that moment. Looking at the replay I felt that he kind of turned towards me so I wouldn’t my check. I felt that I hit him in the the shoulder at first.”
Rule 48, implemented following Matt Cooke‘s blindside hit on Bruins center Marc Savard last March, states that “a lateral or blindside hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principal point of contact is not permitted.”
“Obviously with Rule 48 and the sensitivity it’s [caused] around the league, it’s sensitive and I know that it’s something that someone has to [be made] and example of, and it happened to be me,” Paille said. “Right now, though I don’t agree with the amount of games, I accept it and and just going to focus now on being ready to come back.”
“I was expecting a suspension for sure, but possibly two games. I was a bit shocked at the amount, but I’ll just learn to accept it right now. I hope that Ray is alright. As of right now I heard that he does not have a concussion, which is something that I’m glad he doesn’t have.”
Following Thursday’s game, teammate Andrew Ference didn’t hide his thoughts on the play, calling it a “bad hit” and saying the Bruins would be “hypocrites” if they were to defend it. Paille didn’t seem to mind the line of thinking throughout the locker room, respecting his teammates’ opinions.
“I think that to who said it, if that’s what they see, that’s their opinion, but for me, I felt that it was a clean hit. It’s too bad, I know that most of the guys in the room would disagree with that. … It’s understandable with how the issue is right now with those types of hits, but I know that a lot of the guys on the team here know me and understand me and agree with me.
“Just looking at the replay over and over I see the shoulder hitting the shoulder and then just kind of tagging along. I won’t focus too much on those guys and just get the support from everyone else.”
Paille is eligible to return on Feb. 15 against the Maple Leafs. Here are some other quotes from his session with the media:
On whether he thought it was suspendable, despite thinking that it was shoulder-to-shoulder:
“I mean, I understand that with the situation that it possibly could be suspendable. I was aware that it would be before the hearing even happened, just with how sensitive it is. In my opinion, it is how I see it. I understand that the league sees it a different way, and I can see both side. They decided to go with a suspension, so I accept that.
On whether he understands the significane of Rule 48 in relation to the Bruins:
“I’m aware of what this rule does to our team, especially with how sensitive it was for us with Marc, and pretty much the reason that it all got started. …I’m aware of Rule 48 and I tend to avoid all those types of situations. To permanently injure players is something I don’t want in this league and something I’ve been trying to fight against. In saying that, I also believe that I went to hit [his] shoulder.”
On what he would say to Sawada if he speaks to him:
“If I get in touch with him, I’ll probably just say that I was going to finish my check and I had no intention of hurting him the way I did there. I would hope that he would somewhat understand and know the type of player I am, that I don’t go looking for that. I hope that he would understand that.”
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