I watched last night’s 6-4 win by the Edmonton Oilers over the Colorado Avalanche, a sloppy and random game that saw a few weak goals at both ends of the ice and a third period come back by the home team. It was also the occasion of a rather nasty hit by Colorado’s Ryan Wilson on Oilers’ captain Ethan Moreau. Here’s the video.

At first there was some question about whether it was the elbow or the shoulder that made contact with Moreau’s head, but whatever the technical ambiguities I thought one thing was perfectly clear: Wilson got the elbow out, and he aimed for Moreau’s head. This image seems fairly conclusive that it was the shoulder and not the elbow that made contact.

Should this be a legal play? Does the shoulder make it so or does the fact that Wilson got his elbow up and seemed to deliberately target Moreau’s head factor in?

Oilers’ fan Bruce McCurdy identified it as a turning point in the game, while Edmonton Journal blogger David Staples called it thuggery. Meanwhile, SBN’s Colorado Avalanche site chose to skip the hit entirely, instead focusing on what David Driscoll-Carignan called “cheap-shotting” by Oilers’ players. What does everyone else think?

Comments (10)

  1. initially it looks bad but after a closer look im ok with it, this is the type of stuff the game needs and I don’t want to see it taken away by another dumb rule (the book is too thick as it is).

  2. If the NHL players want to kill each other off they should just train a little harder and join up with one of the many mixed martial arts organizations. I think that until headshots are gone from the game every player should live in fear. What would Colin Campbell say if one of the NHLs stars got taken out?

  3. Jonathan – it seems to me that the NHL is still content on having the players settle it amongst themselves. Any idea how much the hit Moreau gave Wilson on October 27th (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwOU-tgYZfg) played into this? Does this make this hit dirtier or is it just coincidence?

    On the other hand everyone in Oilerland is still looking forward to 44 taking care of Iginla and in a sad way it sells lots of tickets and papers….

  4. Szach:

    I wondered about that too, but the Moreau hit on Wilson was pretty clearly shoulder on shoulder so I chose not to mention it.

    Hard to know if that played into it, but it’s a real possibility I think.

  5. I want to give Colin Wilson a Medal. That hit, whether it was dirty or wasn’t, really shook up chopper, and every minute he is not on the ice for the Oilers is a good thing for this team. I like Ethan as a person, but as a hockey player he’s been brutal most of the year, and the longer he’s out, the better for the team.

  6. Jordan-Agreed with your assessment on Moreau…the guy is a bum and he is a disgrace as the captain of the Oilers…he’s been one of the worst players on the ice for sure….but if you’re giving medals, give it to Ryan Wilson…not Colin…

    That being said, it looked like the elbow was meant to hit the head, I think Wilson was trying to rock Moreau’s “chops”…the fact that there was no penalty on the play, in my opinion, was BS, but no more than 2 min for elbowing. No need for any further discipline from the NHL, but there should’ve been 2 minutes for sure…

  7. J-Dawg:

    Ethan “Chopper” Moreau is not a Bum, and I am offended that you would assume that I think so. I do not. Ethan is a warrior who has been working his tail off to lead this team and show more kids what passion, dedication, and sportsmanship is over the last four years than anyone else who has worn the copper and blue. I am thankful for his contributions, and for all the blood, sweat and tears he has shed for the org, and for my own personal enjoyment.

    I am excited about the possibility of him being out of the lineup for the future sucess of the club, but I would never, NEVER disgrace myself or #18 by using such derogatory language to describe someone I admire, and who has given me so much.

  8. I’ve watched this hit a number of times and it was clear that Wilson left his feet before making contact with Moreau. He was bringing his arms and body up to make a high hit, and nailed Moreau right in the chops. To me it’s a head shot whether the actual point of contact was shoulder, elbow, or other hard plastic protruberance. Dirty hit that warranted 5 and a game and was instead rewarded with a powerplay and two opponents finished for the night.

    What a joke.

  9. I believe there is established criteria for this sort of thing:

    Did the player deliberately target the head? Yes.

    Did he launch himself by leaving his feet to hit ? Not sure, but I don’t think he did.

    Is he a repeat offender? No.

    Did he deliver the hit to the head of an unsuspecting opponent? This one is debatable, but I would say no since Moreau had the puck.

    Was it a late hit? No.

    Even though I think it was a cheap shot, given that that hit only meets 1/5 criteria I can’t see this being a suspension. I think the league needs to adopt a better head shot policy, but under the current rules I don’t believe there will be further discipline.

  10. What ever happened to keeping you head up, being aware of your surroundings?? Skating through the neutral zone with your HEAD DOWN will get you hurt, period. Ask Lindros, Umberger, Kariya, Toews et al. This was a beautiful hit followed by a fight, which apparently is par for the course nowadays. This is still a contact league isn’t it?

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