There’s a new-ish phenomenon in the NHL these days which requires anyone who throws a big hit to fight immediately afterwards. Jack Johnson found that out tonight in Winnipeg the hard way.
In a way this was a very similar play to the hit that has knocked J-M Liles of the Leafs out with a concussion, only instead of Liles we have Stapleton and instead of the enormous Paul Gaustad we have Johnson. The good news is the hit is totally clean – no elbows to heads or anything like that – and Stapleton, like Liles, has the puck so it’s not as if it’s a dirty behind-the-play hit. The unfortunate part is that the pass both players took put them in this precarious position.
Here, Johnson catches an opposing forward trying to take a pass in the slot and plants him. Quite frankly I have no problem with this hit and I don’t see why Johnson ought to fight Evander Kane because of said hit. If anything, Kane should be punching Blake Wheeler in the head for feeding Stapleton the suicide pass in the first place.
Watch and judge for yourself.
The worst part for Johnson? He has to fight someone named after Evander Holyfield. Sure, he sort of came out on top, but I would hate to be tangled up with that guy.