Late in the first period of Tuesday’s Winnipeg-Minnesota game, Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey decided to cross-check Eric Staal in the side of the head because, well, he was standing in his general vicinity.
Somehow, referees Steve Kozari and Brian Pochmara missed the stick work and did not penalize him.
It turned out to be a big non-call. With the Wild already on the power play (hey, maybe that’s why Morrissey got away with it?) it would have given them an extended 5-on-3 advantage in what was, at the time, a scoreless game. Not only did the Wild miss out on that opportunity, Morrissey ended up staying in the game and assisted on Mark Schiefele’s late first period goal to give the Jets a 1-0 lead.
That said, there are obviously a lot of problems with what Morrissey did here.
Not only did he cross-check a player in the side of the head (we can not make this point enough), the player he cross-checked in the head was not anywhere near the puck and there was not anything that preceded the incident that would have warranted such a response. Not that there is ever a good justification for cross-checking a player in the head.
It is almost certain to be reviewed by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, which has been fairly busy so far in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The question now becomes whether or not Morrissey will sit a game or two for his actions.
What do you say? Will he? should he? Vote.