by Jon Jordan on 04/19/11 at 12:17 PM ET
Quick thoughts on both questionable hits from last night’s Pens/Bolts game three:
First, on Steve Downie’s apparent charge on Ben Lovejoy, which would have been called a penalty, had Max Talbot not scored just moments later.
At first glance (which for me came via the tail-end of a bad replay, having missed the play when it happened because I was on the phone with TSN Radio) I thought Downie appeared to leave his feet only after the initial point of contact. Later, having seen the replay again in much more clarity, the penalty that Downie would have been assessed certainly would have been just. By definition, that was a charge.
I wonder, then, if he might come out of today’s hearing with a fine, maybe, but no suspension? A penalty was being assessed. That said call was wiped out because of a goal should have no bearing on that fact. Lovejoy wasn’t injured on the play, something that is often taken into consideration on supplemental discipline decisions these days (though whether that should happen or not is a subject up for much debate).
Naturally, Downie’s status as a repeat offender could come into play and, if he does get suspended, the guess here is that would definitely be a contributing factor. [Edit: Downie hasn’t been in hot water with the league since March 16, 2010 when he was fined $1,000 for an attempt to injure Sidney Crosby. Not sure if that fine counts as part of the 18-month window a player must stay clean within to avoid said repeat offender status or if that only pertains to suspensions. Will research…]
I also wondered, momentarily, if the hit is a suspendable offense in nature, though Colin Campbell’s words regarding why Vancouver’s Raffi Torres was not suspended for his recent hit on Chicago’s Brent Seabrook leave me with all the resolution I need to quickly answer than question:
“This hit meets none of the criteria that would subject Torres to supplemental discipline, including an application of Rule 48: he did not charge his opponent or leave his feet to deliver this check.”
Well, Downie did charge his opponent and he did leave his feet to deliver the check. Ergo, my guess is Downie gets two games. One for the foul itself and an additional game as a repeat offender.
As for Chris Kunitz’s shot on Simon Gagne, that one is pretty clear-cut, to me. In both video replays and still shot images that I have seen, there is no doubting the fact that Kunitz extends his elbow and makes direct contact with Gagne’s head – two things we’re consistently told lately that the league is trying to avoid, all in one play.
This was awfully reminiscent of Tampa Bay’s Pavel Kubina elbowing Chicago’s David Bolland in March, for which he received a three-game suspension. Bolland was hurt, Gagne was not, that was the regular season and this is the playoffs.
But does any of that come into play? Tough call.
We’ll go for broke here and guess two games for Kunitz as well. Had Gagne been hurt, this one may have been lengthy.
Of course, guessing is all we can do in these cases, as no one knows where the old wheel o’ justice will land. No matter how it shakes out, one side or the other will surely be up in arms.
Your thoughts, folks?
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