NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan says the league didn’t like Rick Nash’s hit on Tomas Kopecky Thursday night, but that wasn’t enough to suspend him.
In a phone interview with Yahoo!’s Puck Daddy, Shanahan explained that while Nash’s hit should’ve been penalized during the game, it didn’t contain enough elements to garner supplemental discipline.
“We don’t like this hit. It absolutely should have been a two [minute minor], and probably should have been a five,” Shanahan said. “We don’t see this as being principal point of contact to the head. For a fact, we don’t see much contact to the head at all.”
Shanahan also added he spoke to Nash on Thursday night, and told the Rangers forward the hit was “rotten.”
Nash caught Kopecky late in the third period with Florida holding a 2-0 lead. He wasn’t penalized and Kopecky left momentarily before returning to score an empty-net goal, icing the Panthers’ win.
Many have pointed to the fact Nash left his feet as a reason for punishing the hit. To that, Shanahan said the NHL doesn’t suspend players for leaving their feet, but rather “leaving your feet and hitting a guy in the head violently.”
The decision not to suspend Nash has come under heavy scrutiny.
Sports Illustrated’s Allan Muir wrote “pretty much everyone dropped the ball on this one,” while the Toronto Star’s Kevin McGran said Nash “got off scot-free,” suggesting it would’ve been appropriate for Shanahan or the disciplinary department to issue a video/statement explaining why the Rangers forward wasn’t suspended.