Bylsma told Godard, other Penguins not to leave bench

| Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011

NEW YORK — Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said Saturday he instructed players, including enforcer Eric Godard, not to leave the bench Friday night to engage New York Islanders players during a scrum-filled third period of a 9-3 loss at Nassau Coliseum.

For not listening, Godard will be ineligible to play for 10 games.

He chased down Islanders center Micheal Haley early in the third period Friday. Haley, fresh off a fight with Penguins forward Max Talbot, skated into the Penguins zone to fight goalie Brent Johnson.

"I saw (Haley) skating toward 'Johnny,' and I just jumped," Godard said.

Rule 70.11 stipulates that the first player to leave the bench during a fight or to start one shall be suspended automatically for 10 games.

"I'm aware of the rule," Godard said, "but at that moment you're not thinking about (it).

"Ten games is pretty long, especially when we're in a tough spot with a lot of guys out. Yes, I regret it, but I'm going to try and defend my teammates. So, I'm kind of torn with that."

NHL rules also allow for the coach of a player who leaves the bench to be suspended for a game, but Bylsma will coach today at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers.

"We actually had a situation where I said, 'Don't go,' but I don't have my hands on every player on the bench," he said.

The Penguins and Islanders combined for 346 penalty minutes, third most in an NHL game dating to 1990.

Disciplinary hearing were held with the Islanders yesterday afternoon at Buffalo, with rulings handed down just before midnight. The Islanders were fined $100,000 as a team, with wingers Trevor Gillies and Matt Martin each receiving multi-game suspension for their engagements with Penguins forwards Talbot and Eric Tangradi, respectively.

NHL discipline czar Colin Campbell said in a statement the Islanders' players made "deliberate attempts to injure players delivering blows to the head of players who were unsuspecting and unable to defend themselves."

"The message should be clear to all players: targeting the head of an opponent by whatever means will be dealt with by suspension," he said.

Additional Information:

Long layoffs

NHL disciplinary action taken against players from the Penguins-Islanders game Friday night:

Eric Godard, Penguins: Leaving bench for altercation • 10-game suspension/$40,322.55 fine

Trevor Gillies, Islanders: Blow to head, punches • 9-game suspension/$24,193.53 fine

Matt Martin, Islanders: Punching from behind • 4-game suspension/$41,585.36 fine

Source: NHL

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