As different as outdoor games feel, the danger of NHL hockey still looms large.
We received another reminder of that during the Winnipeg Jets’ eventual 2-1 OT win against the Calgary Flames at Saturday’s Heritage Classic, as Jets forward Adam Lowry received a two-minute boarding minor for a dangerous hit on Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington.
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety appears to agree that the check was dangerous, as they’ve announced that Lowry will have a hearing. The Winnipeg Sun’s Scott Billeck provides two key notes: 1) it will be a phone hearing, which would limit a suspension to five games or less, and 2) Lowry, 26, will be considered a repeat offender thanks to a suspension from March.
Lowry told Billeck that he believes the official got the call right as a boarding penalty, while also noting that a lot of things are “borderline.” It should help Lowry’s cause that Kylington was able to return to Saturday’s game after that hit.
It’s been a slow start so far this season for Lowry, who has failed to score a goal or an assist through 12 games. While Lowry’s possession stats have been a little bit down at least relative to his teammates so far in 2019-20, he’s been a very useful player — particularly defensively — for Winnipeg; you can see that in metrics such as this multi-season RAPM chart from Evolving Hockey:
A hearing makes it seem pretty likely that a suspension is coming for Lowry — the hit seemed pretty dubious — but Winnipeg has to hope that it’s far from even that five-game ceiling.