Jake Gardiner of the London Dons has become the second player suspended by the league for deliberately injuring another player. The 25-year-old Minnesota native has never had as many as 30 minutes in penalties in any one EURO League season, and this year, he had no minutes at all until he took his first penalty of the year Monday in Copenhagen. And what a penalty it was.
During a scrum in front of the London net, Trident Brooks Orpik shoved the back of Gardiner’s head and the London player swung around quickly chopping at Orpik while gripping the end of his stick with two hands like a baseball bat. The heel of his blade struck Orpik’s foot, fracturing a bone in the American veteran’s ankle. Orpik should miss 2 to 3 weeks of games. Gardiner received a match penalty and this afternoon, a 2-game suspension handed down by Sepp Blatter, EURO’s director of Player Safety and Discipline.
Asked why the suspension was a game less than Par Arlbrandt received for his elbow to the head of Henrik Zetterberg, Blatter said, “As I have stated in the past, some checks are bigger than others.” He then winked. Blatter acknowledged that he was in phone contact with the owners of both teams involved before making his decision. In an unrelated matter, Blatter announced he was leaving immediately for Monaco to do some impromptu marketing and/or investing on behalf of the league.