Martin Havlat's version of kung fu fighting has found him suspended for five games. The Ottawa Senator forward let frustration rule the day in an altercation with Boston Bruin Hal Gill on Saturday night and punishment has now been administered for his much reported kick.
The situation developed in the Boston end of the ice during the second period, as Havlat found himself hopelessly pinned to a cross bar by the rather large Bruin. The weight difference between the two is something like 46 pounds and the vertical leap between the two is six inches, so Havlat was very much outsized prior to his well placed karate kid imitations.
By no means condoning his actions, the simple fact is that sometimes the smaller players have to take liberties to create space for themselves. Bobby Clarke was not the cleanest player in the world and he carved out (literally we might add) a pretty good place for himself in the dirtiest of eras of NHL hockey.
Havlat has become no stranger to controversy, Clarke's very own Flyers painted Havlat as one of the leagues dirtiest players last year. Perhaps a badge of honor coming from that particular organization, but also indicative of a record that did not help him in today's deliberations.
It's pretty well accepted that his past history of misbehaviour cost him the five games today, as the league continues to put it's more high profile miscreants on notice that the ugly aspects of the game will no longer be tolerated.
For Havlat a more creative way to make some space and keep his cool is in order. He's going to be a target for the rest of his career, some players will fear his temper others will try to use it for the benefit of their team.
Five games today could turn into ten or twenty next time. Ottawa needs him on the ice too much for that, a quiet chat from the coach and someone on the ice to help keep him away from the troublemakers may be the required moves from the Senators.