The Department of Player Safety suspended Tom Sestito for four games after boarding Toby Enstrom in a raucous first period of Wednesday night’s game. He will forfeit $12,777.76 in salary. This is Sestito’s first suspension since 2011.
Sestito was called up by the Pittsburgh Penguins to take the spot of an injured Patric Hornqvist. The game was the ninth for Sestito this season and first since Nov. 16.
In a scant 1:02 TOI versus Winnipeg, Sestito racked up 20 minutes in penalties and was tossed from the game after boarding Enstrom.
After the game, Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice remarked to reporters that Sestito ‘wasn’t called up to dangle.’
The Jets defenseman was later transported to an area hospital for possible facial fractures and likely concussion. The Jets are off on Thursday and the status of Enstrom is unknown. Maurice gave some indication in the post-game stating, ‘we lost a good defenseman for a while.’
There have been arguments made that Enstrom put himself in a dangerous position to be hit so close to the boards. The Department of Player Safety address that topic in the video:
“It is important to note that players do have a responsibility to protect themselves when they are in possession of the puck, especially when in close proximity to the boards … we acknowledge that Enstrom turns his back to the approaching Sestito shortly before contact is made.
“That said, Enstrom’s move is made early enough that Sestito has sufficient time to minimize the force of the hit, if not avoid it entirely.
“Instead of minimizing the impact in some fashion, Sestito loads up and intentionally delivers a forceful hit directly through Enstrom’s numbers, driving him dangerously into the boards. When approaching a defenseless player like this, Sestito must do a better job of avoiding the hit if possible, or, at the very least, minimizing the impact.
“A player turning his back shortly before contact is not an open invitation for his opponent to take advantage of the situation with impunity.”
The last line is probably the most important of the video and something that’s often forgotten when we see these hits.
The aggressor isn’t given a free pass to annihilate someone who put themselves in a bad position. If they have time to lessen or avoid the hit all together, they have to take it.