The CHL has announced that Kootenay defenseman Brayden McNabb has been suspended one game for his elbow to the head of Owen Sound forward Joey Hishon in the Attack's 5-0 win over the ICE on Saturday. Per the CHL, McNabb's elbow on Hishon "was a reckless action by the player but not a deliberate attempt to injure.” The recently-inked rearguard, who is the first player suspended at the Memorial Cup since 1999, will sit out the ICE's Sunday contest against host club Mississauga.
So yes, this 2009 draft class is shaping up to be quite the 1-2-3 "punch". We're all aware of Zack Kassian's brushes with the OHL and IIHF (and heck Windsor PD) bylaws and Marcus Foligno's desire to drill guys into the third row, but let's not forget McNabb's rugged tone as well. If you recall, the 6'4 bruiser was assessed a one-game sitdown for ramming a Saskatoon forward heavily into the boards from behind while trailing late in the game. Sound familiar?
McNabb is not a dirty player, but he does bring his passion near the edge. It's what makes him a tough SOB to play against and what his teammates (and especially goaltenders) appreciate most. I think McNabb's actions on Saturday were clearly the result of frustration. He wasn't having his best game and you could see him upset after being in the mix on the third goal against. Shortly after, he delivered the elbow that everyone is talking about today...
We'll keep an eye out the rest of the way. McNabb's actions may hurt his team in the short term but are sure to have a more positive impact on the Sabres future toughness.