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‘Letter of the Law,’ Sullivan Surprised, Wanted NHL to Penalize Dillon’s Hit on Blueger



PIttsburgh Penguins, Teddy Blueger hit

Midway through the first period, Pittsburgh Penguins center Teddy Blueger suffered a broken jaw when Winnipeg Jets defenseman Brenden Dillon crunched him into the end wall to finish a check.

The 6-foot-4 Dillon and his shoulder made direct contact with Blueger’s face. Sullivan received an explanation on Sunday why officials didn’t call a penalty.

“They didn’t see it,” Sullivan said then.

On Tuesday, Sullivan expressed surprise that the league didn’t levy a fine or supplemental discipline against Dillon.

“The short answer to your question is yes. I was surprised. When I read the rulebook and I watched the hit, for me, it’s the letter of the law. The main point of contact was his head, hence a broken jaw,” Sullivan began, almost in an NHL video cadence. “Points in consideration, unnecessary extension of the body upward and outward. It appeared to me that both took place on the body check. And for me, my understanding of the rule and watching the hit is very different than the way the league saw it. But it’s not my call.”

Blueger, 27, had surgery on Monday for a fractured jaw and will be out of the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup for six to eight weeks. Teddy Blueger has 17 points (9-8-17) in 40 games this season, including his abbreviated appearance on Sunday.

Brian Boyle figures to anchor the Penguins’ fourth line in Blueger’s absence. Boyle, who signed a PTO before training camp and made the team. Has played 28 games this season with five points (4-1-5).

“Does it present a challenge for us? For sure it does, because Teddy’s a good player for us. You know, he’s one of our best penalty killers. He’s having a terrific year for us,” Sullivan said. “He makes our bottom six a whole lot more difficult to play against. And so once again, we’re just going to have to fill the void.”

Our friends at the Tough Call podcast and YouTube channel have the slow-mo angles. They agree with Sullivan.


The Penguins host the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night at PPG Paints Arena. The Penguins have won 16 of 18 games and five in a row. They rallied to beat the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 in a shootout after Blueger was injured on Sunday.