By Chris Block
Top Blackhawks prospect and Rockford IceHogs winger Jeremy Morin was suspended on Tuesday for the team’s next 3 games as result of an elbowing incident during Sunday’s 5-4 shootout loss in Milwaukee.
With six minutes remaining in the second period, Morin collided with Milwaukee Admirals center Joel Champagne, while chasing a loose puck deep in the Admirals’ zone.
Morin’s elbow connected with the left side of Champagne’s jaw as Morin attempted to box his opponent off the loose puck in the right corner behind the Admirals’ goal line.
Champagne was moving on the ice but did lay prone for several minutes while attended to by both the IceHogs and Admirals trainers. He was eventually placed on a backboard and stretchered across the ice before being sent to a hospital for further evaluation.
The play sequence began with a weak Champagne turnover in the neutral zone, forced by an Andrew Shaw backcheck. Seconds later, Brandon Pirri gained the Admirals’ blue line by lifting a puck, tossed backhand across the ice, leading Shaw along the far boards. Shaw won a one-on-one physical battle with defenseman Tyler Sloan and advanced that puck down low into the right corner. At this point, Morin read the play and came down from the middle of the slot in pursuit of the puck.
Joel Champagne actually should have gotten to that puck first, but he was slow to get there. Champagne saw Morin coming and pulled up to avoid a hit. Morin had time to adjust, and instead of throwing a check on Champagne, Morin chose to box him off the puck since Champagne was, in effect, surrendering possession to Morin. In seeing Champagne pull up and making his adjustment, Morin shifted his weight in turning his back to Champagne to shield the Milwaukee player off the puck.
As far as the elbow, Champagne was struck by an accidental blow from Morin’s left, trailing elbow.