The first questionable hit of the night comes our way via Marc Staal, who took Jason Spezza out in the second period of Game 4 between the Rangers and Senators with this bit of contact to the head:

It’s definitely not your standard hit to the head. Neither Staal nor Spezza was anywhere close to full speed when the collision occurred, and Spezza was even leaning in a bit with his head exposed.

Nonetheless, it’s far from incidental or accidental contact on Staal’s part, as he basically decides that instead of making a natural hockey play to separate Spezza from the puck, he is instead going to use his hands/fists/forearms to deliver somewhat of a blow to the head.

This may not be anywhere near as bad as some of the head-shots and dirty hits we’ve seen so far over the last week, and you can make the argument that Spezza’s immediate reaction made the hit seem worse than it really was, but at the end of the day, if the NHL is serious about eliminating unnecessary contact with the head, this should have at least resulted in a two minute minor.

Instead, Staal got off scot-free. Though perhaps the fact that the Senators scored just minutes later, and eventually took the game in overtime to even the series, was some sort of karmatic justification from the Hockey Gods.

It should be noted, as well, that Spezza returned to the ice for the third period and overtime, and didn’t really look any worse for wear.

Comments (7)

  1. I think you mean “scott free”, and how else was Staal supposed to play that? Going across your body, like Staal would have had to do as a lefty, is awkward and difficult at any time, nevermind after going for the puck on the right side of your body. Therefore, it’s much easier for Staal to play the body, especially when Spezza is inches away from him. Is it Staal’s fault that Spezza’s head was so low that he could basically fellate Staal?

    We’ve seen other hits where the player who puts himself in a vulnerable position does not get the benefit of a penalty called when hit. And for you to suggest that a play on the puck would have been “natural” shows your inability to understand misunderstanding. Stop going for the sensational headline of “forearm shiver to the head” and call it what it was: a borderline hit that was created by the player WITH the puck. Staal pushed out from the middle of his chest, and not up. Had Spezza been upright, Staal’s hands would have been in Spezza’s chest. And yes, it was his HANDS that hit Spezza, with a follow through. Not an elbow.

    • shows your misunderstanding*

    • Sure looks like the elbow catches Spezza on the left side of the head.

      And yes, he did mean “scot free”.

    • Judging by the comments it’s obvious Matt has never played the game of hockey. Now back to hit, if you watch the replay Stool 1st slashes Spezza’s and when he realizes he’s was being beat by a great move, he got embarrassed and delivered a hit to Spezza’s head.
      P.s unless you mother’s fellates guys with their penis on their face, I don’t think your assessment of Spezza’s position is accurate.

  2. The NHL has been getting a black eye from all the missed calls these playoffs, will they make it look like they are trying to stop the bleeding or is the status quo ok!

  3. Seriously? How, exactly, was he supposed to play this? You said that the “natural play” would have been to separate Spezza from the puck? He did that. He used his stick to disrupt Spezza’s stickhandling and his body to take Spezza out of the play. Textbook defense, and the hit wasn’t even that hard.

    From what it looked like, to me, the reason Spezza went down like a sack of bricks and the reason Spezza sprinted off to the locker room was because, when he was hit, his visor got driven right into the bride of his nose. If you’ve ever been hit by anything sharp on the bridge of your nose, it smarts. Odds are, he sprinted off to make sure that he a) didn’t have a gash on his nose because of his visor and b) to make sure his visor was still ok.

    It’s like JR said on the intermission report. If you put your head down like that against Marc Staal (or, really, any defender for that matter), what do you expect to happen?

    That was a good, clean hockey play from a good defenseman, not a dirty hit.

  4. “…Spezza was even leaning in a bit with his head exposed.”

    That’s like saying Elton John is just a bit gay. Spezza was leaning so far over, I thought he was trying to tie a skate lace.

    No way this gets a suspension, or is even looked at by the league. I’m not even sure if it should have been a 2 minute roughing minor.

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