Doan won’t face supplemental discipline for hit on Letang

Coyotes right wing Shane Doan and Penguins right wing Steve Downie fight during the second period Saturday at the CONSOL Energy Center.

Charles LeClaire/Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Coyotes captain Shane Doan will not face supplemental discipline for Saturday’s  hit on Penguins defenseman Kris Letang that sent Letang tumbling backwards into the boards — a play that was not penalized on the ice.

In the reasoning for declining supplemental punishment, a spokesperson for the NHL Department of Player Safety wrote in an email: "After reviewing the play carefully and from all angles, we have determined that this was an unfortunate result from a hockey play. It is not boarding, it is not charging, he doesn’t hit him in the head. He finishes his check by shoving Letang and unfortunately he falls awkwardly. It wasn’t really even a violent hit, although (it) resulted in an unfortunate injury."  

Letang suffered a concussion on the play and is out indefinitely. Per Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Letang suffered at least four prior concussions or head injuries. He missed one game earlier this season due to a head injury after the Flyers’ Zac Rinaldo boarded him in January.

On Doan’s hit, Letang clearly no longer had possession of the puck and Doan literally had to swerve to deliver the shove on Letang, who tried to dodge and then fell backwards, landing on his behind and then striking the back of his head against the boards.

"When it happened, I could tell the way he went into the boards was awkward," Doan told FOX Sports Arizona’s Todd Walsh. "He’s so good we talk about we’ve got to make sure we don’t let him jump by. I just went to make sure I got a piece of him so he couldn’t jump by me. Obviously, he went into the boards awkward.

"We have to finish our checks on him. I hit him just to stop him from jumping by. You never ever want to see anybody like that, especially a guy of his caliber and obviously everything he’s went through in the last couple of years, you never want to see that. You feel awful as a player when something like that happens."

In judging late hits, the Department of Player safety deems any hit that occurs more than 0.5 seconds after a player is no longer in possession of the puck a late hit for purposes of a penalty, a department spokesperson said. Anything that occurs in the 0.6-second range and beyond warrants examination for supplementary discipline. 

A spokesperson said Doan’s hit came "slightly beyond" the 0.5-second window. When considering supplemental discipline for late hits that occur after that window — again, 0.6 seconds and beyond — the department is looking for instances "when elements of other infractions are involved" such as "substantial head contact."  

As the department reiterated regarding Doan’s hit: "It’s not charging, no head contact, etc. It’s a shove; not violent or predatory. (Just) a play that happens a lot but had a bad end result." 

Doan was suspended for three games in March, 2012 for elbowing Dallas’ Jamie Benn in the head. He was also suspended for three games in October, 2010 for an illegal check to the head of Anaheim’s Dan Sexton, and he was fined on March 15, 2012 for a boarding incident on Calgary defenseman Mark Giordano.

COYOTES vs. SABRES

When: 7 p.m. Monday
Where: Gila River Arena, Glendale
TV: FOX Sports Arizona
Season series: Coyotes lead 1-0
Injuries: Arizona — RW Mikkel Boedker (splenectomy) and C Martin Hanzal (back surgery) are out for the season. F Lauri Korpikoski (mouth) is day to day. Buffalo — Jerry D’Amigo (facial surgery) is out for the rest of the season. C Tyler Ennis (shoulder) is day to day and could play. C Zemgus Girgensons (lower body), D Josh Gorges (lower body), G Chad Johnson (lower body), LW Evander Kane (shoulder surgery) and C Cody McCormick (blood clots) are on injured reserve.

Tobias Rieder scored his 13th goal of the season at the 18:09 mark of the third period in Saturday’s 3-2 loss, moving him into a tie with Daniel Carcillo (2007-08) for the third most goals by a Coyotes rookie in team history.

Rieder would have to go on one heck of a tear to climb any higher, and in terms of the franchise, his 13 goals are well down the list.

Peter Mueller holds the Coyotes rookie record for goals with 22 in 2007-08, and Trevor Letowski netted 19 in 1999-2000. Teemu Selanne holds the franchise record with 76 for Winnipeg in 1992-93, which is also an NHL record for goals in a season by a rookie. We did a little research to compile the top goal-scoring seasons by a rookie in franchise history. The list was confirmed by the Coyotes media relations staff.

The final meeting between the Sabres and Coyotes on Monday in Glendale will rekindle talk of who lands the 30th spot in the NHL standings and the guaranteed right to draft either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel.

Following a loss to Colorado on Saturday, Buffalo maintained a comfortable six-point lead over Arizona in the standings. Buffalo has seven games remaining; Arizona has six, and the Coyotes lead in regulation or overtime wins (the first tiebreaker) 18-12.

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