Kukla's Korner Hockey

Kukla's Korner Hockey

The Hit On Nikita Kucherov

06/24/2021 at 7:06am EDT

from John Romano of the Tampa Bay Times,

...this is neither condemnation nor complaint. It is simply a question.

Is this what the NHL wants?

By that, I mean superstars sprawled on the ice. Referees acting as if they see nothing. And league officials promoting the narrative of the Stanley Cup being the most difficult trophy to win by turning the entire postseason into a war of attrition.

It is impossible to tell the story of New York’s 3-2 overtime win in Game 6 on Wednesday night without exploring the play that knocked Nikita Kucherov out of the game on his first shift.

The puck was elsewhere on the ice when New York defenseman Scott Mayfield cross-checked Kucherov with a referee facing them from just a few feet away. There was no penalty called on the play, and seconds later Kucherov skated off the ice and into the night. Lightning coach Jon Cooper said after the game he had no update on Kucherov’s injury.

“They said they didn’t think it was malicious or anything. So it is what it is,” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. “They don’t have the chance to look at it on replay like we do. We’re not going to complain about the officiating. Nothing we can do about it now.”

If that was the explanation, it has a whiff of truth to it. While the play clearly injured Kucherov, it was not the type of violent hit that immediately makes you wince. But that doesn’t change the reality that it was a penalty. A clear, blatant penalty that ultimately sent the best player on the ice into the locker room for the remainder of one of the most important games of the year.

So, again, is this what the NHL wants?

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Below watch the incident...

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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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