Can we stop penalizing clean hits in hockey?

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Martins Karsums of Dynamo Moscow delivered this brutal hit on Metallurg captain Sergei Mozyakin in a game on Wednesday. And it reminded us of all the things we loathe about the way clean hits are disrespected in today’s game, whether it’s a game in the KHL or NHL.

Seriously, look at that hit: Mozyakin had just played the puck, it’s a killer shoulder check near the boards. The aftermath is unfortunate, with Mozyakin’s head bouncing off the boards and his leg getting caught under his body. But it's a clean hit.

So then the nonsense starts, with a good check earning a mass of Metallurg teammates raining down on Karsums, and then the referees deciding that he somehow, someway earned a matching roughing minor for all of this. For being jumped.

The fight after the hit is at least understandable, given it was an injured captain on the ice. But the penalty that followed was handed out for the same reason – there was an injured captain on the ice, so clean hit be damned, off to the sin bin with you, comrade. 

Sigh. Great hit though, penalized or not.