As Harrison Mooney noted in last night's Three Stars, things got a little intense between Carolina Hurricanes star Jeff Skinner, Washington Capitals rookie defenseman Dmitry Orlov and, eventually, linesman Jean Morin, resulting in Orlov getting a 10-minute misconduct during the Caps' overtime loss to Carolina:
Stephen Whyno of the Washington Times quotes an anonymous Capitals player, accusing Skinner of a slewfoot; Skinner said Orlov slipped:
"If you can get a hold of the tape, you can clearly see his leg come out and trip him there," said one Capitals player who spoke to The Washington Times on the condition of anonymity. "That's a terribly dangerous play."
Replays seemed to show Skinner kicking out Orlov's right leg with his right skate. But the Hurricanes forward did not think he slewfooted Orlov. "I didn't see the positioning of my feet. I just sort of stood my ground. He tried to come and hit me and he slipped," Skinner said.
Mr. Anonymous Capital continued, saying: "He's smart; he knows how to use it well. But he also uses it and sometimes does things like that that aren't right."
As for Orlov, the NHL Rulebook is rather explicit about abuse of official and its consequences.
There was some talk about a 10-game suspension, which is an automatic benchmark for roughing up an official. But this was more in line with Rule 40.4:
40.4 Automatic Suspension — Category III - Any player who, by his actions, physically demeans an official or physically threatens an official by (but not limited to) throwing a stick or any other piece of equipment or object at or in the general direction of an official, shooting the puck at or in the general direction of an official, spitting at or in the general direction of an official, or who deliberately applies physical force to an official solely for the purpose of getting free of such an official during or immediately following an altercation shall be suspended for not less than three (3) games.
Now, it's not written in the NHL Rulebook but we all know the deal: There are some exceptions for regrettable "heat of the moment" actions by players against linesmen. Mikhail Grabovski, for example, was given three games in 2009 for an incident with an official.
Orlov deserves something here; preferably a fine, but a suspension wouldn't shock us. But again, let's be honest: This stuff happens every week in the NHL. It's just a matter of whether it ends up under the microscope.
Orlov becomes a person of interest; Jordin Tootoo shoves a linesman from behind during a skirmish with Matt Greene on Tuesday night, and it garners considerably less scrutiny.