The end result

Before someone calls this out, I’ll do it for you: my first ever Backhand Shelf post was about Nick Foligno’s trials and tribulations against the Vancouver Canucks (therefore, bias) and Dion Phaneuf is a seemingly nightly posting subject for me (therefore, bias).

However! Sens bias + Leafs bias = Non sequitur. Therefore this is totally objective. See how I did it? Neither do I.

Now, to the hit. My problem with this hit is this: I don’t think this was clipping. When I watch this play I see a hip check. It’s certainly a borderline play, and there was definitely intent on the part of Foligno to, at the very least, send a message after Phaneuf had been mixing it up with Spezza a few moments earlier. That being said, I think the comparisons to the Marchand hit are a bit unfair for Foligno. He hits him much higher up and there was much less risk on the part of Phaneuf taking the hit than there was for Salo.

If I’m there official here: 2 minutes for interference and go on with your night.


As far as suspensions go, I would be baffled if Foligno had a hearing with Shanahan on this one.

The two went at it after the play itself a bit later on. Props to Burkie for getting in there and throwing a few punches himself while cheering on his boy Phaneuf. That being said, I prefer what other teams have done for cheerleaders.

Do you think this is a dirty/suspendable hit? I do not.

Also, the refs were at the heart of tonight’s digital debate in the Battle of Ontario. My personal favorite:


— Spencer Seymour (@spencerseymour1) January 18, 2012

Take that, Ottawa.

Comments (16)

  1. He went low and interfered at the last second. Should be suspended. Intent was there and Phaneuf is injured. Sens are so dirty

    • AHHHHHHHH…….. Boo Hoo! Whiner

    • I live amongst Leaf fans, yet for miles I can’t see a hockey fan in sight. It seems the Leaf fans live in a world where bias is not only acceptable but encouraged.

      I was at the game, and not too far from where the hit was. Now from my angle I really couldn’t see what went down as the boards blocked most of it. I was under the intention that it was a hip check but I left it as “undetermined” to be fair.

      Review of the play easily illustrates a hip check, maybe not a text book hip check but definitely not a text book clip either. The definition of clipping was so eloquently read aloud to the NHL world not a few weeks ago by old Sheriff Shanny himself. Does that hit look like it is at or below the knees? Or is it that Dion has really long shins?

      Come on, be honest for once and be honest with yourselves. Phaneuf went down, he got rocked, is that embarrassing for you Leaf fans out there? For a man that lays beatings on people for a living I thought he would at least appreciate being on the other end for once. He came back looking for blood and through an ill attempt at revenge it came up as a draw or in the favour of Foligno according to the majority on a poll over at Now the big man (Phaneuf) defended himself which I think should be encouraged and commended whether it was a clean hit or not.

      Should Foligno have got a penalty? Maybe, but it should have been interference if anything.

      Should Phaneuf have got the extra 2:00? In my mind no. Bring on the self-policing of the good old days. Should we issue penalties for instigating a fight that had more to do with the emotions of the game than fan entertainment or boredom? Besides you’d have a better chance of getting hurt during warm up than you would being in a fight like that?

      Maybe it was the officials way of making up for what they felt was a bad call on Foligno? Was it a bad call? I guess it depends on how much blue and white one might find in your closet.

      It also seems there is some sort of judgement on Foligno for fighting with a visor on? Just to clarify Phaneuf wears a visor as well and he would have been wearing it the entire time if Foligno hadn’t have been so nice to have taken it off for him. I guess in all the confusion he simply forgot to take off his own.

      But as for the Sens being dirty? I think that is about as obscene as saving Kerry Fraser is responsible for there not being a 1993 Stanley Cup banner hanging from the rafters of the ACC.

  2. Sorry, that’s clipping. I was always told that you can’t bend your knees when throwing a hip-check. Foligno’s clearly were. Though Phaneuf should lean into him instead of trying to jump him.

  3. meh, MAYBE it’s some sort of penalty penalty… but THIS looks a lot more like trying to avoid a (jumping) train than Marchand could ever convince us of… I’d doubt there is a suspension.

    But, isn’t the definition of clipping a hit in ‘the area of the knees”? This is not that.

    by the way, big LOL at “Sens are so dirty”

  4. ^I’m glad someone enjoyed the “Sens are so dirty” comment as much as I did haha.

    As a Sens fan, I hate to say it but I don’t like the hit. It did look a lot worse than it actually was though. I’d be ok if Foligno got a game for that- maybe even two.

    • This is the perspective any fan should take when assessing a dirty play if their team is involved: How would I feel if this happened to a guy on our team?

      Good form.

      • I would say “That player is dirty”, or “It was a dirty play” depending on who the player was. Just because one player does a questionable play doesn’t make the whole team dirty.

  5. Biggest problem with this kind of hit is the rule book and the code and the fact they differ!

    Yeah as far as the rule book is concerned its not clipping. But as far as the code is concerned if someone is coming to hit you, you don’t duck so that they go over the top of you, you put your shoulder in and see who wins!

    I miss the days where a true hip check was when the guy delivering the hit was skating backwards. Its not a good hit if you are skating head on at someone and you go down to make a hip check. Thats not in the spirit of hip checking or hitting in general!

  6. As mentioned above, it isn’t nearly as bad the Marchand hit but I still don’t like it when guys submarine a pending head on hit. I dont think he will get un supplementary discipline. I do give Foligno full marks for answering to the obligatory after big hit fight and I give Dion equal marks for sticking up for himself instead of selling an injury to enhance the call.

    I assure you that if the tables were turned and Dion layed out Foligno… every Leaf fan and hockey “pundit” would be applauding the truculent leadership Phaneuf brings to the Leafs and they are going to win the cup if he keeps this up.

  7. I’d give him 2 for interference, but that’s it. I don’t see this warranting even a call from Shanahan.

  8. Good point Connor, if Phaneuf does this to Foligno – the crowd goes wild and the play continues, with likely a penalty but not for sure, and no talk of Shannahan involvement at all. The refs got it right, two minute penalty.

  9. I would argue that the hit is borderline but it falls on the side of dirty at the end of the day and here is why:

    When you see a good hip check it usually happens as a defender is cutting off the outside path of the opposing player. The defender usually leads with his butt into the hit. When you are an opposing player you can do one of two things: try to beat the defender to the outside; or slow your progress to take a hit. Either way, the opposing player sees that a potential hip check is coming.

    The hip check is always a little more dangerous because the margin of error in hitting a guy can result in a lot more damage to either player if the hit is not done properly.

    If you look at the Foligno hit again he is leading into the hit as though he is going to use his shoulder to target Phaneuf. Less than a second before contact, Foligno crouches down to change his point of contact from his shoulder to his hip.

    So ask yourself this: if Foligno was about to miss the check and throws out his knee at the last second, is that dirty? If so, then this has to be seen as dirty.

    Changing the point of contact from the shoulder to the knee or hip still holds a level of intent.

    I will give Foligno credit, he stood up to Phaneuf when the fight happened rather than turtling and trying to find cover. I would actually argue that Foligno won the fight so Dion went 0 for 2.

    • This comment makes no sense. It is completely devoid of logic. Hip checks are completely legal, while knee on knee hits are not. It’s not the fact that the point of contact changes in a knee on knee hit that makes it illegal, it’s the fact that you hit another player with your knee. You are completely right that hip checks are more dangerous than body checks, but that doesn’t make them any less legal. And finally, No where in your argument did you assert that Foligno hit Phaneuf low. That would be the only reason he would be suspended, therefore making everything else you wrote a moot point.

  10. I see that as clipping. Not textbook, perhaps, but the intent is definitely there. A hip check, in my mind, is thrown by someone skating backwards. This is a hip check (see the 0:27 mark). Beautifully executed by Ehrhoff (don’t laugh, he had a few good seasons). What Foligno does is skate forward with the intent of hitting Phaneuf low and flipping him. There’s no other reason to throw that hit. In my opinion, any hip check thrown with forward momentum is seriously close, and almost always is, clipping.

    HOWEVER, this opinion doesn’t necessarily square with the actual rulebook, so not sure how valid it really is. Despite this, I think it’s how the rules ought to be constructed.

  11. Give me a break, that was a hip check? not!!! Was it clipping? definitely not More like interference, and definitely not a suspension..

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