There were at least two big, controversial hits that might sideline two NHL All-Stars last night. Neither one will result in a suspension for either of the guilty parties, but New York Rangers rookie Derek Stepan will face a (currently undisclosed) fine for his elbow on Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green while newly acquired Pittsburgh Penguins blueliner Matt Niskanen won’t be suspended or fined for his check on Carolina Hurricanes star Eric Staal. (Both news bits according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.)
It’s unclear if the league only fined Stepan because of the cross-check Green delivered first, but it’s a little surprising that the NHL didn’t at least give the Rangers rookie a game or two for losing his cool and delivering a very questionable hit. That check was the kind of retaliatory hit the league must prohibit.
Meanwhile, the lack of discipline for Niskanen’s hit on Staal seems fairly reasonable. He didn’t seem to leave his feet or show malicious intent on the check, but surely Hurricanes fans must not be very happy about it.
Both Green and Staal will miss today’s games because of injuries related to the hits. We’ll update you later on when the team relays information regarding their injury statuses.