Archive: Hunter, Caps Teammates Believed 21-Game Suspension For Turgeon Hit Was Too Harsh

archive: hunter, caps teammates believed 21-game suspension for turgeon hit was too harsh

Vol. 46, No. 34, May. 21, 1993 The Hockey News Archive

One of the more infamous incidents in NHL history took place when then-Washington-Capitals forward Dale Hunter attacked New York Islanders forward Pierre Turgeon – and in this major feature story from THN’s’ May. 21, 1993 edition (Vol. 46, Issue 34), writer Dave Sell spoke to Turgeon in the wake of his 21-game suspension.

(And here’s your regular reminder: for access to THN’s archive, visit http://THN.com/Free and subscribe to the magazine.)

Despite clearly being in the wrong, Hunter and his Capitals teammates believed the suspension handed down by commissioner Gary Bettman was too severe.

“It’s more than what was done in the past,” Hunter told Sell. “When (Dave) Brown broke (Tomas) Sandstrom’s jaw with a cross-check, it was 15 games. It’s a different era, I guess.”

“I thought it was kind of harsh, but I guess the league is trying to clean its image,” added Washington’s Alan May. “What bothers me is that he’s getting more ink than David Koresh. Those (state) senators in New York who want to file charges ought to worry about other things. I’d be more afraid of things like Joey Buttafuoco and Amy Fisher. Next thing you know, football players can’t hit and hockey players can’t hit.”

HUNTER DISMAYED WITH SUSPENSION

By Dave Sell

Did someone mention Dale Hunter?

The focus of much discussion concerning his check on Pierre Turgeon following Turgeon’s goal in Game 6 of the Patrick Division semifinal, Hunter was disappointed to learn commissioner Gary Bettman suspended him 21 games next season.

Hunter said in a statement he thought the punishment was “unwarranted,” and later in a phone conversation from his off-season home in Petrolia, Ont., expressed disappointment.

“I could be better,” Hunter said. “I’m disappointed I got 21 games.”

When asked if he thought the punishment was fair, he said, “Well, that is their decision. It’s more than what was done in the past. When (Dave) Brown broke (Tomas) Sandstrom’s jaw with a cross check, it was 15 games. It’s a different era, I guess.”

It will be difficult for Hunter not to be able to practice or work out with the team he can use facilities on his own until late November.

“Hockey is a big part of my life and that’s the hard part,” Hunter said. “1 will miss much of it. It hurts.”

When you are the active leader and third on the list for career penalty minutes, you’ve been called some unflattering things. Hunter is used to that, but there have been few times in the past 13 seasons like what he experienced after the hit on Turgeon.

“It’s tough on the family,” Hunter said. “I’ve got kids old enough to understand. They don’t come out and say anything, but it’s hard.”

The Capitals were disappointed the penalty was so severe. They proposed Hunter miss the five games against the Islanders and perhaps the exhibition season.

“I thought it was kind of harsh, but I guess the league is trying to clean its image,” Alan May said. “I don’t know if anybody’s going to change. It also depends on what proportions the media bring it up. That game was on ESPN and TSN. When it’s prime time, everybody has an opinion.

“What bothers me is that he’s getting more ink than David Koresh. Those (state) senators in New York who want to file charges ought to worry about other things. I’d be more afraid of things like Joey Buttafuoco and Amy Fisher. Next thing you know, football players can’t hit and hockey players can’t hit.”

The Hockey News Archive is an exclusive treasure trove of more than 2,640 issues and more than 156,000 articles exclusively produced for subscribers, chronicling the entire history of The Hockey News from 1947 until today. Visit the archives at THN.com/archive and subscribe today at subscribe.thehockeynews.com

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