No fine or suspension for little clipper Marchand

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Boston’s Brad Marchand will not face supplementary discipline for clipping Montreal’s Alexei Emelin last night at the Bell Center.

“Like all penalties on the ice, not all ‘clips’ rise to the level of supplemental discipline,” tweeted Senior VP Player Safety Brendan Shanahan. The “check by Marchand was delivered to the upper thigh/hip and not the knee area. We don’t like it, but not [supplemental discipline].”

Marchand, of course, received a five-game suspension for clipping Vancouver’s Sami Salo on Jan. 7. The Canucks’ defenseman suffered a concussion on the play and missed some games as a result.

Emelin, on the other hand, was not injured, and that likely factored into Shanahan’s ruling.

Anyway, I don’t know about you guys, but I’d love the league to clarify the clipping rule sometime soon.

Here’s how it’s currently described:

44.1 Clipping – Clipping is the act of throwing the body, from any direction, across or below the knees of an opponent.

A player may not deliver a check in a “clipping” manner, nor lower his own body position to deliver a check on or below an opponent’s knees.

An illegal “low hit” is a check that is delivered by a player or goalkeeper who may or may not have both skates on the ice, with his sole intent to check the opponent in the area of his knees. A player may not lower his body position to deliver a check to an opponent’s knees.

So let’s take a closer look at two examples:

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In my opinion, Marchand’s hit on Salo was across the knees (thus illegal), though I’m fairly certain it wasn’t below the knees. There will be those who say it was slightly above the knees while admitting it was a garbage play, and there will be those who say it was slightly above the knees, so why should Marchand be penalized?

I wouldn’t vehemently argue with any of the above opinions. It’s too close to call with absolute certainty.

I have a bigger problem when a player like Keith Ballard gets called for clipping when, according to the rulebook, it’s blatantly not clipping.

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Unless the upper thigh is part of the knee in the NHL.