Yesterday the Montreal Canadiens got their bums handed to them in every conceivable way possible. They got shelled on the scoreboard, the got out-shot, they got out-hit (apparently they were credited with two hits through two periods)…they just got wiped (which is nice when you get your bum handed to you), and were likely frustrated from the get-go.
And with frustration comes sketchy behavior. Let’s break the two hits down.
First, Ryan White on Kent Huskins.
Kent Huskins is rounding behind his own net with the puck. Ryan White is tracking him, looking to forecheck. More accurately, he’s looking to throw a hit. White has to go around another Philadelphia Flyer, and his route has probably pushed him passed where he needs to be to throw a good hit. He tries anyway, carries on into Huskins, and takes what he can get of him. Which is his head.
He clearly pastes Huskins head with his shoulder, and in fact, he doesn’t touch anything his opponents head. I think it’s reckless over malicious, but still: most players would recognize that they’re beyond the range of safe contact, and opt to throw no-hit over a dangerous one. In fact, that’s the decision the league is trying to get players to make more often. He has an in-person hearing with the league, so I’ll say he gets five games for this hit.
And now, Alex Galchenyuk on Ruslan Fedetenko:
Ruslan Fedetenko is in a neutral zone puck battle with Brian Gionta. He’s unaware of anyone else possibly engaging. Alex Galchenyuk is coming back through the neutral zone, when he sees Fedentenko about to win the puck. He disengages from his guy, and comes over to try to hit Fedetenko. He has no reason to believe Fedetenko knows he’s there. He carries on anyway, and hits an unprepared player into the boards.
I think Galchenyuk A) shouldn’t have thrown the hit, and B), made a concerted effort to hit him from the front/side. He almost dips his shoulder under/around Fedetenko so it doesn’t become, or at least doesn’t look like a hit from behind. I’m okay with Philly going at him after this, but I don’t think it’s suspendable or fine-able Some stuff should get sorted out on the ice, or not at all, and I think his intent was innocent enough.
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 Flyers fan and you think it was vicious and terrible that your opinion will be immediately discounted. I just think it helps with context.