New York Islanders de Haan Hit Unavoidable, Obviously

New York Islanders defender won’t be suspended for a hit that forced his opponent from the game. Fair or foul on the part of the NHL’s DoPS? 

In the opening stages of the New York Islanders home game against the Tampa bay Lightning last night, Calvin de Haan leveled Jonathan Drouin along the boards. It was a hit that landed de Haan two major penalties, one for fighting, thanks to Ryan Callahan and another for interference on Drouin.

Drouin, would leave the game and wouldn’t return for the remainder of the preceding’s. Not like it mattered, the Lightning walked over the Islanders 6-1. 

After the hit, a few remarks made their way around twitter that the NHL’s Department of Player Safety would be looking at the hit. Maybe a suspension was in order. In all fairness, Drouin’s head was the primary point of contact. No question. 

Now today Stéphane Quintal and the Department of Player Safety said that the hit will not result in supplemental discipline because contact was unavoidable. Meaning de Haan won’t be suspended. And I totally agree.

Just two days ago I commented on Sidney Crosby’s hit on Johnny Boychuk as the two collided as they went for a 50/50 puck. On that hit, I suggested that the league should come out to say they’re going to review the hit. Nothing more, nothing less.

It wasn’t a suspendable offense on Crosby’s part, something I was careful to avoid stating. Nor is this latest hit by de Haan. The idea is to place players on notice. The league will review what looks like a hit that may be applicable for supplemental discipline.

The Threat of Suspension 

My friend Josh over at Tough Call has it right. These are difficult calls to make. Biases need to be checked. Was player X doing his part to avoid a hit? Did player Y have enough time to alter his course?

In cases like these, the threat of suspension is the lesson for the players. Are these hit suspendable? No. Yes, they are hits to the head. By simply investigating the hit the league adds credence to the notion that it’s taking it’s players safety seriously.

And that’s all many of us are asking, to take player safety seriously. Some more egregious hits, like anything Radko Gudas does, are certainly suspendable. But when the question is surrounding head trauma a 1% doubt should be enough to warrant a review.

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