A play that made blooper reels is actually quite serious, according to former NHL referee Kerry Fraser.
On Saturday in Vancouver, Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul stuck out his elbow in what appeared to be an attempt to hit Canucks captain Henrik Sedin.
Lupul missed, instead nailing teammate Nazem Kadri, at which time everybody laughed because haha Toronto.
Turns out the situation wasn’t that amusing, though, as Fraser says the play was deliberate enough to warrant Lupul’s ejection. From his TSN mailbag:
I look at this play similarly to a player swinging a stick at the head of his opponent from close range but where no contact was made. Without question I would assess a match penalty for “attempt to injure.” I would hope every Referee would do the same.
I recall giving Chris ‘Knuckles’ Nilan a match penalty after assuming his position in the penalty box following a fight, then grabbing a puck out of the bucket and throwing it at his opponent seated in the visitors penalty box. The puck missed Knucks’ intended target but it was still an attempt to injure!
Here’s the play in question:
Lupul wasn’t penalized on the play, though Toronto more than made up for it by racking up 52 PIM total, including a stretch in the third period where the Leafs took four consecutive minors in the span of 10 minutes.