For all we scrutinize every type of hit under the sun in this league, Scott Hartnell busted out one we haven’t seen since the Bryan Marchment era against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday. Magnus Paajarvi was on the receiving end of said Marchment style hit and didn’t return. Nobody knows his status and it’ll be up in the air until Friday. Anyone who thought the Oilers could trade Paajarvi for some blueline help in the near future is now probably swearing.
This play develops with Paajarvi taking the puck over the Edmonton blueline. Instead of taking on one Flyers defender, he opts to chip it past him and go around. This turns out to be a mistake since Scott Hartnell had him lined up from about 10 feet away. The way their bodies collide means knee-on-knee contact at the point of the collision and Paajarvi doesn’t get up as the recipient of said contact.
Take a look.
Hartnell claims that the hit wasn’t an intentional play to injure Paajarvi and under the circumstances I believe him. The way Paajarvi braces himself to receive the hit drastically changes the point of contact on his body and ends up going knee on knee. I don’t know how the league will react, but from my standpoint I see it as an unfortunate hockey play. I’m sure this will get tons of complaints in the comments from angry Oilers fans, but that’s fine. I just don’t think he meant to do it. The whiff with the arms is what seals it for me as I just think the angle was wrong.
I will agree with one sentiment out there though and that is an unwillingness to police the game from an officiating standpoint created the mess. Players were taking shots here and there and that caused tempers to boil over. It also adds a nasty context to this particular hit – namely, that Hartnell was looking for blood after taking a shot from Corey Potter – and likely puts Hartnell’s next bit of wages up for debate in the league offices.