On Saturday night Minnesota Wild rookie Erik Haula took the puck wide past backchecking forward Cody Eakin, stuck his leg out and drove hard to the net. If you’re Haula’s coach, you consider that an encouraging, aggressive move that you like to see from a young player. The problem was, at some point his feet got tangled with Eakin’s, he got stuck in the train tracks, and smashed Kari Lehtonen back into his own net. Lehtonen’s head hit the crossbar after his helmet popped off, and it sounds like he sustained a concussion. There was no supplemental discipline for Haula on the play.
Stars coach Lindy Ruff certainly thought it was a bad play:
“He hit the crossbar hard and all likelihood is, it’s a concussion on just a dirt play. He should be suspended. A fourth-liner kicks out our goaltender.”
And, the players on the Stars reacted like Haula meant to, jumping immediately on his back.
My thinking on that particular play is that he probably found himself on a collision course with the opposing goalie, and while he could’ve bailed entirely, figured he’d keep pushing for the goal knowing it might come at the “cost” of hitting the man in the crease. His certainly wasn’t the most egregious “uh-oh I might have put myself in a situation that involves hitting the goalie oopsie” play we’ve seen in recent years (he does seem legitimately tied up), but I still think he knows the play he’s in the midst of making may end poorly for Lehtonen, he’s just doesn’t care because his priority is trying to score. Read the rest of this entry »