Colorado Avalanche: Duchene Hit Deserved Discipline

Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene suffered an injury on an unpenalized play. The Department of Player Safety should have reviewed the hit.

I don’t know what the Colorado Avalanche ever did the the Department of Player Safety. I’m sure every team feels the same, but it sure does feel like the DoPS has it out for the Avs.

Last year I examined Gabriel Landeskog‘s two suspensions. Plus, the team’s biggest goon, Tyson Barrie, also got suspended. (*sarcasm font)

This time, no Colorado player has been suspended. Instead, an Avalanche player has been the victim of a suspendable hit. On Friday, November 11, Matt Duchene was skating through the Winnipeg Jets offensive zone. Defenseman Jacob Trouba clotheslined him in the face with his stick:

If you’d like to see better video of the hit, check out this article.

The hit happened in the second period. Duchene tried to skate a couple shifts after, but the trainers pulled him aside to put him through the concussion protocol. He missed the rest of the game with concussion-like symptoms.

According to Duchene himself, as told to Avs beat writer Rick Sadowski, the injury was more significant than that:

Those are some pretty significant injuries — the “blurry vision” is especially worrisome because that’s a concussion symptom that can really linger. Ask John Mitchell, who missed several games at the beginning of the 2014-15 season because of a concussion suffered at the end of the previous season.

As the tweet indicates, there was no penalty on the play. Duchene has since missed two games.

I can understand how the on-ice officials can miss such a penalty. The game is very fast, and Duchene had already passed the puck.

How can the DoPS have missed the play? The hit could be considered high sticking, charging or interference. Since the hit resulted in a concussion, it should have automatically been reviewed.

That’s the problem, though — there is no standardization for when DoPS reviews plays. Sometimes the same hit can happen, but only the one that results in an injury gets reviewed. Sometimes — as was the case with Gabriel Landeskog on Brad Marchand — no injury has to occur for there to be supplemental discipline.

So, maybe it’s not so much that DoPS has it out for the Colorado Avalanche specifically. However, you can guarantee that if Sidney Crosby had been the recipient of that hit, DoPS would have taken notice. Duchene is our best player, but not the best in the NHL.

That’s a real shame. When it comes to safety, all players in the NHL should be considered equal.

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