In the second period of their loss to the Minnesota Wild on Monday night, Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks low-bridged Cal Clutterbuck with a hit at the knees.
Kesler was given a two-minute clipping minor at the time, with Michael Russo of the Star Tribune speculating that it could earn more:
Ryan Kesler could face supplemental discipline from the NHL. He attempted a Brad Marchand-esque low-bridge clip aimed at Cal Clutterbuck's knees in the second period. "I was surprised," Clutterbuck said. "I mean, normally you just go shoulder to shoulder, and that's that."
And Cal Clutterbuck is a man who knows his hits.
The NHL Department of Player Safety, however, has chosen not to punish Kesler beyond the minor. Their take: Not every illegal hit is a suspension, and that the Kesler clip on Clutterbuck was "not overly vicious" but a play they'll remember down the line if Kesler does it again.
Bryan Reynolds of Hockey Wilderness, a Wild blog, predicted Kesler wouldn't face the Shanahammer:
Kesler received only a minor penalty in the game. This is due to the fact that Clutterbuck was not injured on the play. The NHL rarely suspends players based solely on their actions. There almost always has to be an injury, and even then, it has to be so overt that if they don't suspend them it is going to wind up the lead story on Sports Center.
You all know what a joke the Department of Player Safety Jokes is. If you're banking on Ryan Kesler being suspended for a game with playoff implications against the Chicago Blackhawks ... you're cracked. The hit was dirty, and in 99 cases out of 100, the player making that hit sits for at least a game. Don't count on it this time.
Our question: Would the outcome have been different if there had been an injury?