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Andrew Ference’s hit on Zack Kassian may not have been ‘dirty,’ but it can’t be tolerated

added 9:04am, Watch below as Ference says he was surprised it was a penalty..

Andrew Ference spent the post-game interviews subsequent to his Oilers' 3-2 loss to Vancouver insisting that this hit on Canucks forward Zack Kassian was clean (and Kassian was at least not hurt on the "check to the head" penalty-earning play), but I can't think of a better textbook example of why hits that involve driving UPWARD absolutely must, must, must not only involves fines and suspensions, but must also be eliminated from the game, from general managers and coaches' edicts on down to players no longer tolerating hits in which players do not aim for the center of their opponent's mass and NO HIGHER than their chests. Ever.

I don't think that Ference is a "dirty player," and he may not have intended to hit Kassian in the head, but whether it's Niklas Kronwall, Andrew Ference or Zack Kassian delivering these kinds of hits, they've got to be eliminated from the game. It's 2014. NHL players are talented enough to modify their checking to avoid intentionally or unintentinoally concussing their opponents.

The Edmonton Journal's David Staples believes that the hit will doubtlessly yield a suspension, though he points out that Kassian is generally the kind of player delivering these hits (if Ference is "no choir boy," Kassian is Nelson Muntz)...

Should the NHL suspend Andrew Ference for his hit on Zack Kassian?

My bet is that Ference, a repeat offender, will get three games. He left his feet a bit and the head was the only point of contact. At the same time, Kassian came lumbering in, head on, and it’s also his responsibility to have his head up.

Of course, Oilers fans around the globe rejoiced at the Ference hit, given Kassian’s vicious stick swing at then Oilers forward Sam Gagner last fall. Gagner has yet to fully recover from the blow. The Oilers brought in enforcer Luke Gazdic to make sure nothing like the Kassian attack ever again goes unpunished, but it was Ference who got revenge.

Ference isn’t a big man, but he’s got no shortage of guts.

And a heart the size of Zack Kassian.

And to his credit, as the Canadian Press notes, Canucks coach Willie Desjardins deferred judgment on the hit to those who had a better viewing angle:

There was a vicious hit with six minutes left in the second as Oilers captain Andrew Ference sent Zack Kassian flying with a high body check that earned him a penalty.

"I didn't see it live. The league might look at it," said Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins. "I don't know if they will or not, we'll have to see what happens."

Sometimes revenge might be necessary, but not with this kind of hit. These have to go. In 2014, hits are supposed to separate players from the puck, and they're supposed to involve a target between the opposing player's hips, no lower, and their chests, no higher.


Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: andrew+ference, edmonton+oilers, vancouver+canucks, zack+kassian


Hank1974's avatar

“Hello Kassian? This is Karma”

Posted by Hank1974 on 11/02/14 at 09:57 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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