BOSTON — More than just about any team in the NHL, the Bruins know first-hand the devastating effects an illegal head shot can have.
They lost top playmaking center Marc Savard to a blindside cheap shot by Matt Cooke last season, and Savard is out indefinitely again after suffering another concussion on Jan. 22.
So when Bruins forward Daniel Paille was given a major penalty for an illegal hit to the head and a game misconduct for his check on Dallas' Raymond Sawada at 11:21 of the second period on Thursday, Paille's teammates weren't backtracking on their stance against such hits.
"I mean, it's a bad hit, right?" Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference said. "That's what they're trying to get rid of. You can't be a hypocrite and complain about it when it happens to you and say it's fine when your teammate does it. It is a head that they're trying to get rid of.
"You hear it from every player after they do it, they feel bad," Ference added. "I just talked to Danny and he feels bad. It's tough. That backchecking forward, to make those kinds of hits now, it's so hard to do it in a clean fashion with the new rules. It is what it is. He hurt the guy and I'm sure he'll have a little conversation [with the league]."
Sawada came down the middle of the Bruins zone and was leaning slightly forward trying to maintain control of the puck when Paille came from his right and delivered a lateral hit with the shoulder. Sawada went down hurt and did not return to the game.
Paille's night was also over with the automatic ejection to go with the major penalty, and he could be facing several more nights off if the league chooses to suspend him for the hit.
"I'm one of those guys that respects what the league and the players and the general managers and everybody, including ourselves, have decided to do in regards to hits to the head, so I'm certainly going to let them make that decision and I'm going to respect that decision," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "Having said that, I looked at the hit and it certainly wasn't intentional. [Sawada] came through the slot and he lost the puck and was reaching forward, so he was a little low. There's an argument to be made there. I don't know if Dan could have stopped.
"I'm going to let the league look at it," Julien added. "I'm going to certainly support my player. … The referee made the call he felt he had to make at the time and I respect that as well."