Beyond The Benches

10 Longest Suspensions In NHL History

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Hockey in synonymous with hard hits and rough play, but the National Hockey League won’t hesitate to punish players who take the violence too far. From a life ban to a 15-game suspension, here are the 10 longest suspensions in NHL history.

10. In 1955, Maurice “The Rocket” Richard of the Montreal Canadiens knocked out linesman Cliff Thompson. Habs fans protested the 15-game suspension by engaging in what would be known as The Richard Riot. This violent riot resulted in $100,000 in damage, 37 injuries and 100 arrests.

9. As Pierre Turgeon celebrated a goal during a 1993 game, Washington Capitals star Dale Hunter violently checked Turgeon. This illegal hit resulted in a 21-game suspension.

8. After leaving the penalty box to verbally and physically abuse officials in 2000, Gordie Dwyer of the Tampa Bay Lightning received a 23-game suspension. This altercation occurred during a pre-season game versus the Washington Capitals and resulted in a bench-clearing brawl.

7. In the final moments of a game against the Vancouver Canucks, Marty McSorley of the Boston Bruins hit Donald Brashear in the head with his stick. McSorley was convicted of assault with a weapon, was suspended for 23 games and never returned to the NHL.

6. Hits in the head are not tolerated by the NHL, and such a hit by Philadelphia Flyers’ Jesse Boulerice resulted in a 25-game suspension in 2007. This enforcer was also on the receiving end of violent hits throughout his hockey career. In 2003, a left hook from Dallas Stars player Aaron Downey broke Boulerice’s jaw and gave him a concussion.

5. A 25-game suspension was handed down to Phoenix Coyotes’ Raffi Torres after checking Marian Hossa in the head.

4. After engaging in a stick-swinging match that cracked Ted Greene’s skull, Wayne Maki of the St. Louis Blues was suspended for 30 days in 1969. This lengthy suspension was short compared to the consequences Boston Bruins’ Greene faced: Because of brain damage he sustained during the fight, Greene was forced to sit out the entire 1969-1970 season.

3. With two suspensions in the top ten list, Chris Simon proved he had a particularly violent temper. The former New Year Islander received a 25-game suspension for slashing a player in the head, and in the following season was suspended for 30 games for stomping on an opponent’s ankle during a timeout.

2. Russian player Alexander Perezhogin was suspended from the American Hockey League for 89 games after slashing an opponent in the head. This vicious attack also resulted in police charges and one year of probation.

1. Billy Coutu of the Boston Bruins became the only player in NHL history to be banned from the league for life. In 1927, Coutu assaulted one ref, tackled another and started a bench-clearing brawl that resulted in his lifetime ban.

Annie Erling Gofus writes for Olympus Athletics. Follow Annie on Twitter (@AnnieErGo) or email her at annie.erling@gmail.com.

(Photo Credit: YouTube screenshot)