NASHVILLE — Alain Vigneault said Cody Eakin’s four-game suspension for his hit on Henrik Lundqvist “I guess [is] fair,” but it didn’t stop him from rhapsodizing a bit on the old days, when most of the discipline occurred on the ice.
“There was a time, a hit like that, probably both benches would have been cleared and players would have did what they had to do,” he said. “I think it’s important for a team to stick up for one another in certain situations. I think that one there caught everyone by surprise . . . On that play there, we had a couple guys that saw the incident but the player was skating away real fast and our two young kids that were on the ice that saw the incident, probably that was one of the first times that they had seen that.”
The Stars forward blindsided Lundqvist as the goalie was playing the puck around the trapezoid in the first period of Thursday night’s game. Lundqvist was forced to leave to undergo the concussion protocol but was cleared to return, missed only 5:31 and combined with Antti Raanta for the shutout. Eakin was ejected, and though Lundqvist reported a little residual stiffness in his neck and shoulder, he started against the Predators on Saturday night.
Vigneault recalled a similar situation when he played, when his teammates leveled a goalie. Things were different, it got rough, and the suspension was only two games.
“This guy got four. I guess it’s fair,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to go back to the era where both benches are going and both coaches are going. I’m too old for that.”
Puempel in, Pirri out
Matt Puempel was slotted into the fourth line Saturday night for Brandon Pirri after missing five games with a concussion. “I thought [Puempel] was coming along there before he got injured and I think Pirri’s play has slipped a little bit, for whatever reason,” Vigneault said. “He’s not getting the same looks that he once was on the power play.”