If you thought it was tough to determine intent on the Hansen/Hossa play, good luck with this one.

Ross Johnston of the Moncton Wildcats is battling with Brian Lovell of the Halifax Mooseheads when his stick somehow gets wedged between the glass and the divider.

With Lovell down but rising, Johnston summons the strength of Arthur pulling Excalibur from The Stone, and wrenches his stick free. And it comes out hot. With a baseball swing motion, he clubs Lovell across the face, promptly breaking his jaw.

There wasn’t a penalty on the play, but he’s since been suspended indefinitely while the league reviews the play.

That is either terrible luck, or terribly violent. I have no idea.

(Stick-tap to Deadspin, Buzzing the Net)

Comments (12)

  1. Seriously wrong place, wrong time! Strictly speaking, does he get suspended for reckless play? Glad I don’t have to make that call. Control of your stick (or your arm) should always be a priority but this looked completely accidental to me. Really a shame it happened.

  2. I don’t think you can suspend him based on this. He may have been trying to hit him, but given how hard he was pulling it is very possible it was just an accident.

  3. You definitely need to suspend. I feel this is accidental, but you are responsible for your stick. He broke a guy’s jaw. And these are kids, so you are accountable to parents.

    I’m saying 5 games, unless they play Halifax again very soon, then he’ll be suspended until just after that one. As it turns out, HFX/ MON is 7 games from now, but that’s a little too long. 5 it is.

    SB

  4. 20 games, minimum.

    You can’t argue that was just an unfortunate situation. It was an incredibly stupid thing to do.

    He could have pulled it straight out, but instead, as he pulls it out, he turns it into a baseball swing and hammers the guy in the face. With the guy standing right there he knew he was going to hit him if he did that. He also shows no remorse, like oops sorry, he just skates away hoping his samurai shot does not get noticed.

    Given the scrapping taking place just before that. My view would be it was completely intentional.

    • Totally agree, he pulled it out straight then swings it forward like he’s Babe Ruth.

      Probably the most reckless play I’ve ever seen in hockey aside from Cormier-Tam. And the recipient has a smashed jaw. 40 games wouldn’t be too much.

      • Either you don’t understand physics or you watched a different video. He’s yanking on it to pull it loose, and this being a player who is rather in a rush to get his stick loose he’s not slowly pulling it free, he’s pulling on it as hard as he can at every angle he can. When it pops loose that energy will have to go somewhere, it doesn’t just float away into the sky. In this case that energy caused the stick to swing across his body, which unfortunately is right where his opponents head was.

        But you’re right, he totally planned to have his stick stay wedged until that perfect moment when his opponents head was right there to be taken off.

    • I tend to agree with the “dumb reckless play that deserves to be punished”.

      One question Id like to know from the people who play more hockey than I do…if you’re trying to dislodge your stick, why would you try to swing it? Id think you get better results if you try to wiggle it loose.

      • He’s not trying to swing it, he’s trying to pull it loose as quickly as possible and in that situation the ‘less is more’ approach likely isn’t going to pop into your mind. Instead you yank on it as hard as you can.

  5. I’m going unintentional but he has to get something for being dumb. You need to set an example to control your stick in all situations.

  6. I was at this game and saw it go down live. Thought it was accidental at the time and still think so now. Careless and reckless, sure, but I feel the whole thing happened too quickly for it to be intentional.

    I’ve read a lot of reasoning on how Johnston made eye contact before he swung or he rotated his wrists somehow or how he didn’t look back afterwards and that somehow signifies intent. I think the biggest thing that signifies is how a clip doesn’t always show a full play (important to note that Lovell never went down and both players headed directly to the bench because they were so far behind the play, so if Johnston looked back, he would have seen Lovell a handful of strides behind him heading to the bench).

    Also just goes to show how slow motion replay sometimes makes things appear worse than they are. Remember the slow-mo on Cooke hitting Karlsson where some people screamed that he obviously meant to try to slice him? Or who can forget when Chara “guided” Pacioretty’s head into the stanchion?

    I do feel there will be a suspension, in part because of the injury, in part because there was no original call on it. The officials didn’t see it as by the time it happened, the play was already deep in Moncton’s zone. One of the assistant coaches from Halifax reportedly saw the swing, but not necessarily the stick getting caught.

    I’m a bit surprised that this is all of the sudden getting a lot of attention and i think that’ll add to the likelihood of a suspension. There’s been a Sportsnet column, posted on Yahoo, posted here, posted on Deadspin, Guy & Dean talked about it on the Pipeline Show last night. Puts the pressure on the league to do something, in my opinion, because this doesn’t paint the Q in the best light.

    • “I’m a bit surprised that this is all of the sudden getting a lot of attention and i think that’ll add to the likelihood of a suspension. There’s been a Sportsnet column, posted on Yahoo, posted here, posted on Deadspin, Guy & Dean talked about it on the Pipeline Show last night. Puts the pressure on the league to do something, in my opinion, because this doesn’t paint the Q in the best light.”

      You make it sound like a bad thing. If there’s something that deserves punishment, its especially important that the punishment occur in the lower levels. If we want to change cultures in hockey – whether its fighting, head shots, whatever, – its the younger players coming up now to be the ones who have to learn what the standards are.

      • I think the extra attention is a bad thing IF it changes the decision made by the league. And I think that’s a very slippery slope. This particular game was a high profile game, it was a rematch of a nationally-broadcast game a week ago, it involved possibly the best junior team in the country and a local rival that is also one of the top teams in the league. Halifax is one of the highest profile markets in the QMJHL.

        With that said, the articles and coverage I mentioned all happened yesterday. This game occurred on Saturday. The league could have made a decision on Monday and probably avoided a lot of this extra firestorm and controversy, but they’ve been dealing with a number of other issues lately.

        My personal feeling is that if a similar situation happened with two of the smaller market teams in the league and there wasn’t as much of a drag between the game and the final decision, this might be a non-issue or a whole different story.

        Now, the attention and coverage has ,in my opinion, forced the league to take a strong standpoint. I view that as a bad thing because I would rather the league not be affected by level of media attention when making decisions like this. Because then I start to wonder about “what if this happened a week earlier on Rogers Sportsnet Friday-Night-Hockey?”, would that nationally televised event cause the QMJHL to come down even heavier on Johnston?

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