controversial hits

Cody McLeod checks Jared Spurgeon from behind


It didn’t take long for our first controversial hit after the holiday break. In fact, it happened in the first game.

The Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild started Monday’s action, which included the hit (via @cjzero) below. Cody McLeod was tossed from the contest after a check from behind on Jared Spurgeon.

McLeod received a five-minute major and game misconduct for the hit. Should he face a suspension as well, just a fine or nothing more?

Roenick, Weekes debate who’s to blame for hits


Thanks to slow-motion replays and angry Twitter mobs, it’s often easy to vilify a hitter in the event of a controversial check. That’s not always a fair thing, however, and not just because of the lightning-fast speed of the game. Sometimes the “victim” puts himself in a vulnerable position, which some will say leaves the blame at their feet.

NHL Overtime featured an interesting “shootout” debate between former NHL players Kevin Weekes and Jeremy Roenick on that subject. Check out their back-and-forth in the video below and share your own thoughts regarding their discussions.

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Buffalo calls up their version of Milan Lucic: Zack Kassian


For many Buffalo Sabres fans, last night’s game against the Boston Bruins failed to hit the “revenge” spot. Sure, Milan Lucic was forced to drop the mitts, but the B’s got the last laugh in what was – to many – a frustrating shootout win. The Sabres are generally known for being a team that develops pint-sized forwards (see: Nathan Gerbe, Tyler Ennis and in a previous life, Danny Briere), but they just called up a big, mean exception to the rule: Zack Kassian.

I’m not sure I agree with WGR 550’s notion that Kassian is already a household name, but there’s no question that the budding power forward has built up a notorious reputation for bending (and sometimes breaking) the rules. He’s listed at 6-foot-3 and 228 lbs. and brings a killer instinct, but also sports the offensive upside you’d expect from a guy who went 13th overall in 2009.

In other words, Kassian might be the Sabres’ answer to – you guessed it – Milan Lucic. Maybe the talent and mean streaks are different (some might argue that Lucic has more of the former while Kassian could carry a little more of the latter), but Kassian silences the argument that Buffalo has no one who can make the Lucics of the world pay for their tomfoolery.

In fact, bloodthirsty Buffloans might have been happier if he got his first cup of coffee at the NHL level a day or two sooner …

Is Drew Doughty’s hit on T.J. Oshie suspension-worthy?


With about 1.5 seconds left in the Los Angeles Kings’ tight 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues, T.J. Oshie went into the corner only to awkwardly fall after a Drew Doughty hit. Doughty received a two-minute minor for crosschecking on that play, but some believe that he deserves a fine and/or suspension. Here’s some analysis of that questionable hit from Versus; feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments.

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Did Tyler Myers take liberties with Dainius Zubrus?


The Buffalo Sabres are currently struggling against the New Jersey Devils, but Tyler Myers is keyed in after the first healthy scratch of his young career. Myers scored a power-play goal to end the opening frame and then clobbered Dainius Zubrus in the second period. (Not a very polite way to congratulate Zubrus for his 1,000th NHL game, by the way.)

Peter DeBoer and the Devils expressed distaste for the hit, claiming that Myers took liberties with Zubrus on that check. On the bright side, Zubrus didn’t leave the bench, so it looks like there won’t be any injury involved. Even so, take a look at video of that moment and let us know if you think Myers deserves to sit for another game – this time because of a suspension rather than a healthy scratch.

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