Rostislav "Rusty" Klesla will not be playing in Game 5 for the Phoenix Coyotes, and surprisingly it is not because of injury. Sunday afternoon the NHL announced that Klesla would be suspended one game for his hit on Matt Halischuk in Game 4.
Klesla has been a warrior for the Coyotes this postseason, so it's a shame he may be in street clothes when his team clinches a spot in the next round.
Klesla has taken pucks, sticks and hits to the face, and has played through it all. He has sported a full cage, visor, or jaw protector for a lot of the playoffs and has continued to be productive through the pain.
See the NHL's explanation for the suspension in a video after the jump.
The hit was hard, and properly penalized during the game, but it leaves fans scratching their heads. How can the discipline committee, that was so good during the regular season, fail so epically in the playoffs.
Does Brendan Shanahan sit around in a room with his cronies and spin a big wheel that determines what the suspensions will be?
Some of the decisions are so questionable it has people claiming "conspiracy." I wouldn't go that far, but looking at some of the suspensions, and non-suspensions, handed down by the NHL this postseason, things do seem questionable.
Torres got 25 games, and Ovechkin won't get anything.
The shining incident of the NHL's futility was when Shea Weber smashed the head of Henrik Zetterberg into the glass after the buzzer and didn't miss a game.
Klesla's hit was a hockey play and part of the nature of the sport. Weber's was hands down not a hockey play.
Klesla has been playing an average of 18 minutes, 30 seconds a game, and he's tied for fourth on the team in scoring with two goals and four assists for six points in 10 games.
The suspension may be a blessing in disguise for the Coyotes though. Klesla has taken a beating on the ice and time off will be good for him, especially if the 'Yotes can close out their series with the Predators Monday.
Hang in there Rusty.