St. Louis' Robert Bortuzzo illegally cross-checked Viktor Arvidsson not once, but twice into Jordan Binnington's goalie crease during the first period of last night's game.
The first hit sent Arvidsson head-first into the net, and as he tried to get back on his feet, Bortuzzo layered Arvidsson a second time with such force that Arvidsson crumbled to the ice. Arvidsson's left knee buckled awkwardly upon the second cross-check, and as he labored to get up again, Binnington decided to ice the cake with yet another hard shove to Arvidsson's back.
Bortuzzo's behavior doesn't surprise me. He established himself as an instigator even before being traded to the Blues by the Pittsburgh Penguins in March of 2015. Based on his record, Bortuzzo seems to have an affinity for dangerous head hits and repeated cross-checking.
In December of 2014 as a member of the Penguins, Bortuzzo was suspended two games for a high hit on New Jersey's Jaromir Jagr.
In October of 2017, Bortuzzo incurred a $3,091.40 fine for cross-checking the Islanders' Brock Nelson three times in succession.
In the 2018 Preseason, Bortuzzo was suspended for the remainder of the preseason and one regular season game for elbowing Washington's Michal Kempny. Kempny sustained a concussion from the hit and missed the remainder of the Capitals' preseason as well as two regular season games.
Though he wasn't suspended or fined for it, the Bortuzzo incident that has stuck the hardest in my mind happened during the Preds' 2017 playoff series against St. Louis. Bortuzzo tailed Kevin Fiala to the boards and checked him as he was falling. Fiala's legs folded against the boards in such a way that caused his left femur to fracture.
Bortuzzo's hit probably wasn't dirty enough to warrant a suspension, but it was the way that he continued to shove Fiala to the ice after he was down in obvious pain. One could argue that Bortuzzo was just trying to get his stick out from under Fiala's arm, but it was an awfully roundabout way to do it.
It's not NHL Player Safety protocol, but I think there should be policy put in place wherein the instigator of an injury-causing penalty should be suspended for the same amount of time that the injured player has to be out. In cases of clear intention on the part of the instigator, like last night's hit on Arvidsson, Bortuzzo shouldn't be allowed back until Arvy makes a full recovery.