The NHL's Department of Player Safety is nothing if not thorough. It analyzes every available camera angle before a decision. It has a collection of voices to debate the legality of hits. If the situation warrants it, they'll interview those involved.
In the third period of Thursday night's 4-3 New York Rangers OT win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, Dominic Moore was whistled for an interference penalty on a play in which he appeared to connect shoulder-to-jaw with Ruslan Fedotenko. The Rangers forward hit the ice, left the game with an injury and will not play in Saturday's tilt with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Yet for this incident, Moore only received a $2,500 fine from the NHL. The hell?
Again, the NHL's thorough about these things. The image above was captured from an above the glass camera replay that might have been glanced over in initial viewings. But as the video shows (tm, Shanahan), Moore's back hits Fedotenko's gloves, which are carrying a stick that connects with the Tank's head. Moore doesn't actually connect with the head.
So was a fine still enough?
Here's the video the NHL used to determine the fine, rather than the suspension:
Moore/Fedotenko: Some of us thought this was direct contact to the head as well until we saw ALL replay angles. DM never makes contact to RF's head. One replay angle clearly shows his BACK making contact with RF's STICK causing it to hit RF in the face. Not a rule 48 but he was still fined for this intentional interference that caused an injury.
So it's an interference call with an injury. Not a suspendable action in and of itself; just an illegal play that led to an injury …
… which of course brings us back to the nadir of the Shanahan regime: The 2-game suspension of squeaky clean Pierre-Marc Bouchard for that "self inflicted" high stick on Matt Calvert.
Remember that? Calvert initiated contact. Bouchard chopped across his body while facing Calvert, and Calvert's stick lifted Bouchard's lumber from its intended target (the hands) to his face.
Sometimes, "hockey plays" go haywire, legal or illegal. Bouchard got two games for a slash gone bad, in which his stick connected with another player's face. Moore gets off with a fine for an interference gone bad, in which another player's stick connects with that player's face.
As Shanahan told us in Ottawa last month: "The one or two decisions that I think I missed are the ones that people try to use as my precedent." He may not think he missed the Bouchard one, but in light of the Moore fine, it stands as unfortunate precedent.
- Dominic Moore
- Ruslan Fedotenko
- Brendan Shanahan