Tuesday night, in a game between the Vancouver Canucks and the Colorado Avalanche, David Booth beat Shane O'Brien with move off the wall and cut into the slot. He looked poised to fire a backhand on Avs' goalie Semyon Varlamov when Kevin Porter stepped into him.
The problem? All he did was step; the hit was a blatant knee-on-knee. Booth suffered a sprained MCL and will miss the next 4 to 6 weeks of action. As for Porter, he'll sit out the next 4 games, as per Brendan Shanahan:
Porter forfeits $18,378.36 to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund, if you're keeping track.
I don't know about you, but 4 games is a downright shock to me. While I expected some form of supplemental discipline for this incident, I wouldn't have been surprised to see the incident receive little more than a fine, especially since knee-on-knee hits aren't exactly the topic du jour these days.
But clearly, Shanahan has no intention of knee-on-knee contact ever rising beyond the rarity it is now, because he just set a massive precedent. Not only does Porter have no disciplinary history whatsoever -- he had yet to register a single penalty minute this season. And he got 4 games for this hit.
In the video, Shanahan makes sure to note that Porter's spotless history was taken into account. I assume this is his way of saying that Porter was actually granted leniency in this case. In short, for non-offenders, knee-on-knee contact in the Shanahan era starts at four games.
God help you if you do it a second time.
You can see why Shanahan would take such a hard line. The recklessness of the incident really comes to light when everything is slowed down.
Note the way the video provides a gruesome freeze-frame of Porter's knee striking Booth's. Anybody wondering why Shanahan has such a problem with this hit need only start there. Booth's career could be over right now.
But it's not just about the contact. Here's the clincher, as per Sherrif Shanny:
"What is especially troubling about this hit is the distance that Porter travels with his knee extended in this position."
The video makes it clear that Porter travels a long way with his knee extended. Whether Shanahan feels this is evidence that Porter had intent to injure or simply that he had ample time to change course is unclear. Either way, he has zero tolerance for the result, and that is quite clear.