Near the end of the first period of the Devils/Habs game in Montreal, Erik Cole hit rookie defenseman Adam Larsson with a hit to the head. Cole was penalized two minutes for an illegal hit to the head, while Larsson headed back to the locker room to recover from the hit. Thankfully, he was able to return to action in the second period.
It certainly looks like Cole caught the vulnerable Larsson with an elbow as he tried to curl around the net. As the announcers mentioned, this was one of those “drive-by” hits that Brendan Shanahan and Rob Blake have been watching closely.
Was the head the principle point of contact? Absolutely. Was the player in a vulnerable position? Check. But Larsson was also bending down as he reached for the puck. Does that mean that Larsson changed the position of his head enough for Cole to escape punishment?
We through this out to the readers: Should Erik Cole be suspended by the NHL for this hit on Adam Larsson? The comment section awaits.
Paging Shanahan: Deveaux delivers ugly hit to Fleischmann’s head
NHL disciplinarian may have had a brief respite earlier this month, but the league’s players are doing their best to ensure his job security lately. In the latest reviewable offense, Rangers forward Andre Deveaux delivered a headshot to Florida’s dynamic forward Tomas Fleischmann during Florida’s 2-1 victory over New York.
Deveaux received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for an intentional hit to the head. Meanwhile, Tomas Fleischmann went to the locker room and missed the entire five-minute power play, but returned before the second period ended. The most important thing is that Fleischmann looks like he may have escaped serious injury: but it originally looked like it could be much worse.
It wasn’t just the dirty play, but it was unfortunate that Deveaux decided to deck Fleischmann. He had just set up a beautiful goal earlier in the second period when he deked around Artem Anisimov and dished the puck to a loaded Kris Versteeg. No surprise there: the Versteeg/Fleischmann/Weiss line has been one of the best trios in the entire league this season. No one every wants to see an injury—and the league has had enough of their highly skilled players laid out by “lesser” talented players.
No, it’s up to Brendan Shanahan. Principle point of contact was the head? Check. Elbow to the head? Check. Suspension? Pending. Deveaux might be out for a while. Check it out for yourself and let us know what you think in the comments.
Another night, another questionable head shot: Ryan Malone crunches Chris Campoli
Perhaps Brendan Shanahan will have some more work to do tonight. In Quebec City as the Canadiens and Lightning were doing battle, Tampa Bay’s Ryan Malone caught Montreal’s Chris Campoli wheeling around the net with his head down, checking him in the head and putting him on the ice. Montreal’s Josh Gorges took up for Campoli dropping the gloves with Malone in a fight that Malone left Gorges a bit bloodied. You can see video of the hit here.
Shanahan has been more than doing his part to get things cleaned up around the league regarding head shots, cheap shots, and hits from behind, but he’s got a conundrum on his hands here. This hit provides for a bit more debate as Campoli appears to dip his shoulder at the last second turning what could’ve been a shoulder-to-shoulder hit into a shoulder-to-head hit.
Players do have to have more control of their body and how they dish out hits, but at this kind of speed and these sorts of reactions from players, can Malone be punished for a last second move by his opponent? On the flip side of that, Shanahan could rule that Campoli came around with his head at the same level no matter what and Malone could’ve done something to hit him differently.
One way or another, Shanahan will have something new to deliberate on. Tampa Bay won’t play another game until Friday night, opening night for the Lightning, so he’ll have time to get things sorted out. This time, Shanahan might have his toughest call to make in deciding how players handle themselves (or don’t) on the ice.