Last night we told you about Mike Cammalleri’s bad night in Quebec City where he seemingly went bonkers going after Islanders rookie Nino Niederreiter and ultimately slashing him in the ankle. Cammalleri was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the action and Niederreiter left the game with a bruised ankle. Cammalleri isn’t exactly a goon out on the ice so what would make him lose his cool with the 18 year-old youngster? Perhaps it was a hit that might be the first to challenge the NHL’s new blindside hit rule.
Video has popped up showing Niederreiter hitting Cammalleri shoulder-to-shoulder from a point of view for Cammalleri that comes from out of nowhere. You can check out the video from YouTube here. Stu Hackel of Habs Inside/Out thinks that Niederreiter’s hit could help Cammalleri’s case with the NHL.
Looking at the video, a case can be made that contact was shoulder to shoulder from behind. A case can also be made that the head was targeted, even though it wasn’t the principal point of contact.
But even if Colin Campbell and his staff decide Niederreiter did target Cammalleri’s head, the retaliation may still cause some sort of disciplinary action, although it might be softened if the league decides Cammalleri had some justification for his reaction.
Ahh yes, the ever popular Wheel of Justice may get fired up for everyone involved in this. Niederreiter might get dinged for being the first to face the new blindside hit rule while Cammalleri could get sat down by the league for invoking the spirit of “Slap Shot” while going ape on Niederreiter.
For us, Niederreiter’s hit doesn’t qualify as the kind that allows you to go after another player the way Cammalleri did. It’s not that egregious of a play and while you can’t get into a player’s head to guess what their intent was, Niederreiter didn’t appear to be gunning for Cammalleri’s head. Punishing players for playing hockey isn’t something we’re very supportive of. Of course, trying to guess what Colin Campbell may or may not do in regard to punishment is a game that we’re not going to play either, especially if a new rule comes into play.
That said, there’s no justifying Cammalleri swinging his stick towards Niederreiter’s head and face and there’s no excusing him taking a swipe at his ankle. That kind of rogue action should not be tolerated.
The San Jose Sharks became the only team in the second round to jump out to a 2-0 lead in their series. The Sharks did it by beating the Predators 3-2 in Game 2 on Sunday night.
San Jose opened the scoring in the second period when Logan Couture buried a rebound by Preds goalie Pekka Rinne. Brent Burns took the initial shot from the point and extended his playoff point streak to four games.
The Predators finally got on the board at the 12:56 mark of the third period when Mattias Ekholm tied the game at one.
Here’s the goal:
Nashville’s good fortune didn’t last very long. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski gave San Jose a 2-1 lead less than five minutes later.
Pavelski also picked up two assists in the game. The 31-year-old has at least one point in six of his seven postseason games in 2016.
Joe Thornton then added an empty-netter in the final minute of play before Ryan Johansen scored with four seconds remaining.
Despite the loss, Preds head coach Peter Laviolette wasn’t too disappointed by the way his team played.
The Predators outshot the Sharks (39-25), they outhit San Jose (46-26), but they just couldn’t outscore them.
Like the old saying goes: “you’re not in trouble until you lose a game on home ice.” The Preds still haven’t done that, which means they’re not done yet.
The series now shifts to Nashville for Game 3, which will be played on Tuesday night.
It’s a scary night for players getting hit in the head with pucks.
After Brian Elliott was hit in the head by a Jason Spezza slapshot, it was Marc-Edouard Vlasic‘s turn to narrowly avoid disaster.
In the third period of Sunday’s game against the Predators, Vlasic took a puck to the face. The end result could have been catastrophic had Vlasic not had a visor.
You can see the incident by clicking the video at the top of the page.
It’s nice to see that Vlasic was in a joking mood after the game:
Hockey Twitter breathed a collective sigh of relief after Vlasic got back up:
You’ve all seen it by now (if you haven’t, click the video at the top of page). Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta was forced to leave Game 2 against the Capitals after taking a late hit from Brooks Orpik. Not only was the hit late, but Orpik also caught Maatta in the head.
After the Penguins’ optional skate on Sunday, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan wasn’t optimistic about Maatta’s chances of playing in Game 3 on Monday night.
“Olli’s being evaluated as we speak, so I don’t have any real update as far as his status is concerned,” Sullivan said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s being evaluated today, we’ll probably have more information in the morning.
“I don’t have a lot of sense of his availability. I’m probably not optimistic, though.”
After the game, Capitals coach Barry Trotz stood up for his defenseman.
“We’ll let the league handle it,” Trotz said, per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “If you know anything about Brooks, he plays hard, he plays clean. He’s not a dirty player.”
And the league certainly did handle it, as they suspended Orpik for three games.
—Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta
Brooks Orpik has been suspended for three games for his hit on Olli Maatta (top). The Caps defenseman will be forced to miss Games 3, 4 and 5 of the best-of-seven series against the Penguins.
Orpik delivered a late, high hit to Maatta in Game 2. The Penguins defenseman was wobbly getting off the ice and he was unable to return to the game.
Here’s how the Department of Players Safety saw the play:
“Orpik steps up to pressure Bonino, who quickly moves the puck to Maatta. Orpik peels off Bonino to pressure Maatta, who releases a shot from the top of the circle. The two continue on their path toward the goal line, as the puck is kicked into the slot. A full second after Maatta releases the puck, Orpik delivers a high, forceful hit making significant head contact. This is interference.”
To watch the NHL’s Department of Player Safety’s full explanation, click the video below.
This is the third time Orpik’s been suspended in his NHL career.