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Belleville’s Mike Blunden suspended for hit to the head on Andreas Borgman

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The incident occurred, as seems to be traditional, in Andreas Borgman’s first AHL game.

Borgman scoring in Sunday’s game.
Credit: Christian Bonin/TSGphoto.com

Today the AHL announced a suspension to Mike Blunden of the Belleville Senators for an illegal check to the head. He will miss two games.

Blunden, a 31-year-old man who has played professional hockey since 2006, got the elbow up on the new guy in the Marlies game against the Senators on Friday. The Marlies won the game 7-4, and at the time he was knocked out of the game, Borgman had 2 shots on goal in his first attempt at AHL hockey. Blunden had one assist on the Senators first goal.

The score was tied at 3-3 and the Marlies weren’t playing all that well when Blunden decided to raise his arm and elbow Borgman in the head.

Witnesses say it wasn’t as bad as the blindside elbow to the head of Andreas Johnsson in his first ever AHL game, but it was dirty.

Blunden, who seems to show up in some NHL games every season on whatever team he’s playing for, has a career NHL points per game of 0.10 in 127 games. In 557 AHL games he has 288 points, which means he scores like a defenceman even though he’s nominally a winger. He also has 693 PIM. I’m sure he’s a great guy, though, good pro, and knows exactly why he’s in the game.

That’s what the fans are there for, right? Family entertainment?

I like tough hockey players who play hard. I like Borgman, and I think some of his hits in the NHL are a little iffy, and he could use a leash put on him just a touch. But intentional hits to the head, and you can’t get your elbow up there accidentally, they need tougher suspensions than a couple of games for a guy the team can’t possibly be anything but better off without.

So, let’s flash back to September when the new guy in the NHL was a big defender from Sweden named Andreas. Mike Blunden took a hit from him he didn’t like and then:

So, could be a coincidence. Could be Mike Blunden can’t tell one Andreas from another. Could be the tradition of going after the new guy in the AHL needs to be knocked on its head. But it will need more than a two-game suspension to do it.

Because Borgman is a 22-year-old rookie, and he was lucky, he was unhurt enough he only missed part of one game. He came back in his next start and scored his first goal, which is what you’re supposed to be in the AHL to do. The AHL bills itself as a development league. It’s got teenagers in it. Important teenagers teams are developing for their futures. That up there, lying on the ice because some career hard man is so tough he hits guys in the head with his elbow, that’s not development.

But what do I know, eh? I never played the game.