Update: Corey Perry has been suspended for four games:
Our breakdown of the play below.
I’m pretty sure this is one of the rare “Court of Public Opinion” posts that doesn’t ask “if” there should be a suspension, but rather “how many games.” Let’s take a look at it.
Jason Zucker of the Minnesota Wild picked up the puck along the boards at the top of the right circle in the offensive zone. After a short touch, he tries to run a bank pass off the boards up to his right defenseman. Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks was skating in to defend Zucker when he saw him about to gain possession of the puck. After Zucker moves the puck, he briefly looks back to see how the pass turns out, then starts to turn his head around to continue his path (likely to the net, if the pass was completed). Perry continues in a straight line towards Zucker with the intent to hit him, even after the puck has been released. He braces for contact, and comes up and into the hit. He hits Zucker in the head, who goes into the boards, and stays down for an extended period.
I think part of the reason the hit looks (not just looks, also “was”) so bad is that Perry stops looking at Zucker’s location to brace for the impact early. That doesn’t make it okay, but it makes him lose track of body position, and that lack of control was part of the problem. More importantly, the hit was still a step late and on a defenceless player. Contact to the head was made. With Perry’s prior suspension (four games for an elbow on Claude Giroux in 2009), and the fact that Jason Zucker seemed to be concussed, I suspect he’s in trouble here. I think he deserves four or five games, and I think that’s what he’ll get.
(Update: Something I originally missed – you’re only deemed a “repeat offender” if a second incident occurs within eighteen months of the first incident. Therefore, Perry will be judged as a “first time” offender.)
In the comments, we’d love to hear if you think this was a malicious play, a hockey play, or something totally different. The caveat: as always with “Court of Public Opinion” posts, you have to honestly list your favourite team (I have no dog in the fight as an Isles guy). That doesn’t mean if you’re a Wild fan and you think it was vicious and terrible that your opinion will be immediately discounted. I just think it helps with context.