Once Jordin Tootoo of the Nashville Predators received a two-game suspension for his leaping run at Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, the attention turned to this David Booth collision with Mikkka Kiprusoff in the Vancouver Canucks' 5-1 win over the Calgary Flames on Sunday night:
The verdict: No suspension or fine for Booth, who was given a minor for goalie interference. So how did Brendan Shanahan and the NHL Dept. of Player Safety decide to punish one by not the other?
Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun (via Matt Reitz) asked, and Shanahan said that Tootoo's hit was unaffected by Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff making contact with him, but that Booth was both harassed by a Flames defender and attempted to avoid the collision.
"On the Booth play, he's got the puck longer and the Calgary defenceman (Joe Piskula) is right on his back and leaning on him right into the collision. Just before impact, Booth turns his skates and is blowing snow and is trying to stop. At no point is Tootoo trying to stop. He argued that he was trying to jump. Whether it was intentional to hurt Miller or get out of the way — either way, it was the wrong decision. It made the collision worse.
"I think with Booth he has less options because the player is leaning on his back right into the goalie."
They're two very different plays. Slow down the Booth video: You can see Piskula lean into Booth at the end, right as Booth is straight-backed having tried to pull up from the hit. Tootoo's solution was an attempt to enter orbit over Miller.
Some folks like my radio partner Mr. Jeffrey Marek believe this is "selective enforcement," because Tootoo is Tootoo and because he ran Miller, who apparently is now on the endangered species list.
I agree with his thinking on the Tootoo suspension; but this Booth play was benign by comparison. Neither play required anything more than in-game discipline from on-ice officials, but a suspension to Booth would have reeked of hyper-political overreaction to close the "open season" on goalies.
- Jordin Tootoo
- Brendan Shanahan
- Calgary Flames
- Buffalo Sabres
- Ryan Miller