Hockey notebook: NHL takes a step forward in penalizing senseless smackdowns

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Ex-BU defenseman Eric Gryba suspended two games for violent hit Thursday night on Montreal’s Lars Eller.

Head down, looking to gather in a pass, Eller crumpled up when smoked by Gryba’s right shoulder. Based on how he fell and the resultant damage (broken nose, facial fractures, lost teeth, concussion), it appeared Eller was knocked cold on his feet. He crashed face-down on the ice, where a sizeable pool of blood quickly collected, and he ultimately was hauled out of the Bell Centre on a stretcher and ferried to a local hospital by ambulance.

Within minutes, the whole issue rested with Brendan Shanahan and his pals in the league’s “Player Safety’’ department. Their charge: to determine whether the hit was worthy of supplemental discipline.

And here’s the good news: Player Safety on Friday afternoon tagged Gryba with a two-game suspension. The message: knocking vulnerable players senseless will not be tolerated. A bad day for those who’ve grown to love seek-and-destroy hockey.

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