Aside from the unsurprising news of another Pascal Leclaire injury, the attention of the hockey world this morning has been focused on Nick Foligno’s blind-side headshot on Carolina’s Pat Dwyer on Thursday night.  Although he never left his feet, or raised his elbow, Foligno’s third period hit on Dwyer was a text book “headshot”.  Dwyer got up immediately and skated to the Hurricanes’ bench, and did not miss a shift.  There was no call on the play.  Had the outcome been a little different, say a stretcher was required to get an unconscious Dwyer off the ice, then maybe we would have seen a penalty called on the play.

Upon review, it’s clear that Foligno’s shoulder made direct contact with Dwyer’s head. Still, no call… nothing. Nothing but a very upset Paul Maurice.  Canes Country, for one, believes that a call would have been made had Dwyer appeared to be seriously injured, and that the officials may have acknowledged the controversial hit with a quick “make-up call” shortly after the play:

“An interference penalty called on Milan Michalek shortly after the hit had the feel of a make-up call — and it led to Carolina’s first goal — but that still doesn’t address the fact that the early season results are in and nothing has changed with the officials calling penalties on these hits, particularly if the victim isn’t laying prone on the ice. It shouldn’t take a player suffering a serious injury — or the offender displaying clear malice, of which I don’t believe Foligno had — for the call to be made.”

Unlike the hit we saw on Jason Pominville by Niklas Hjalmarsson that resulted in a 2-game suspension, Foligno’s hit has had less of a polarizing effect on the media.  The majority of writers, bloggers, and talking heads agree that a call should have been made.  The NHL’s offseason emphasis on eliminating headshots and blind-side hits has not gotten through to the players, according to some, and the Globe and Mail’s Roy MacGregor has gone as far to suggest that Foligno should be suspended for at least one game:

“… while I do believe an argument can be made for no suspension, I am going to argue strongly for one — at least a game. The message clearly isn’t getting through. Just as parking tickets are meaningless if they cost next to nothing, so, too, with discipline in hockey. And given that the “punishment” available in fines does not even amount to pocket change — piffle, the players say — the one punishment that registers is losing games when one is healthy. In the case of Foligno, missing a game will hurt far more than the lost money…”

Where do you stand, should Nick Foligno face disciplinary action for his hit on Dwyer?  Where will the NHL’s “wheel of justice” land if it is in fact spun?

**Update**

The NHL has fined Nick Foligno for his hit on Dwyer.  No suspension, but the fine is believed to be around $2500.

We’ve also got video for Paul Maurice’s post-game comments courtesy of The Score Ottawa:

Comments (9)

  1. It was not a “headshot” and it IMO was not a “hit” it was more of a collision of two players going for the same puck.. neither I think really saw each other…

    Also if Dwyer was not crouched down on the play, his head would not have run into Foligno’s torso

  2. Don’t be obtuse. Clearly from the replay, Foligno’s shoulder came into direct contact with Dwyer’s head, and even if you don’t think it was intentional — I personally think that it seems as though Foligno was pushing through the hit, just as if he was trying to check Dwyer — the hit still merits a call at least. Hits to the head are hits to the head, regardless of context. Wasn’t the NHL supposedly going to crack down on these types of hits? I guess if the even the refs aren’t calling them, then they’re probably not too serious about it.

  3. Ben.. no need for name calling.. Here is the video of ‘Legal and Illegal hits’ that the NHL put out…. The Foligno hit looks very similar to the hit that was deemed legal on Towes at the 4:10 mark of the video

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SszoPpBEit8&feature=related

  4. The League has fined him but no suspension on the hit (according to Cory Clouston)

  5. Yo dale, that hit is similar to the mitchell hit on toews except for 1 key element. Mitchell hit toews through the body, where this hit up for debate is clearly head and only head

  6. This hit was in the center of the ice. Any hockey player should be ready to get hit if they are receiving a pass where this hit took place. I’m not necessarily a Foligno fan, but he was simply trying to stop Dwyer from advancing further. I could see a problem if Foligno had raised his elbow, but it looked like he was just trying to make a good clean hit to his opponent. If anyone is to blame it should be the person who passed the puck to Dwyer in the first place, and made him stretch out to reach for the puck. Where I come from they call that a Suicide Pass, and for good reason!!!

  7. [...] only one thing we can all agree on: Colin Campbell is one wildly inconsistent rule enforcer.By now you know the latest chapter in the NHL’s ongoing headache. Senators forward Nick Foligno’s hit on Carolina [...]

  8. Dale,

    The difference between those two hits is that the Toews’ one was a shoulder-to-shoulder hit. The Foligno hit was a shoulder-to-face hit. As they say pretty clearly, the legality of the hit is based on where the initial point of contact is made. The initial point in of contact in the Foligno hit is the head, and is thereby illegal and possibly suspension worthy.

    The only reason I would advocate for suspension is that the NHL needs to start making an example, and start being consistent, and give suspensions for all of these hits to the head (not to be confused with big mid-ice shoulder-to-shoulder hits, like the one of Kris Letang today).

  9. [...] The NHL may look at the hit, although there was no penalty on the play, as it was similar to the Nick Foligno/Pat Dwyer incident from earlier this season.It was a frustrating night for the Penguins overall. Washington [...]

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