WILMINGTON -- After learning Friday morning that he had been suspended for four games following his blindside hit on Stars forward Raymond Sawada, Bruins forward Daniel Paille expressed hope that the player is alright but defended the 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.
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