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Tomas Hertl takes head-shot from Alex Edler; should Canucks defenseman earn suspension?

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

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San Jose Sharks rookie Tomas Hertl became an overnight NHL star thanks to his four-goal effort against the New York Rangers that ended with a controversial flourish.

On Thursday, Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler decided to welcome the 19 year old to the NHL with a hit to his head.

Via the NHL:

At approximately 19:46 of the second period, Edler collied with Sharks forward Tomas Hertl near the Vancouver bench, resulting in Hertl losing his helmet. There was no penalty called on the play and Hertl skated a regular shift in the third period.

The following grounds are being considered for supplemental discipline: illegal check to the head. However, the Department of Player Safety retains the right to make adjustments to the infraction upon review.

Edler was going for the puck near the Canucks bench when Hertl came flying in to intercept it. He used his shoulder to ward off the rookie, hitting him in the head in the process and sending his helmet flying. (“FLYING HELMETS ARE A DISRESPECT TO THE LEAGUE!” – A. Oates, probably).

San Jose coach Todd McLellan said: "No doubt there was contact to the head, that's obvious... It's how it will be interpreted"

Edler was suspended two games last season for charging goalie Mike Smith. While it won’t factor into the Department of Player Safety’s decision, he’s currently suspended for two games by the IIHF for a knee-on-knee hit on Eric Staal during last year’s world championships.

Here's the thing: Edler doesn't really move. At all. Hertl just kind of skates into his shoulder, in an attempt to advance the puck.

It seems like any contact with the head is going to get a player rung up by the NHL, especially under the new definition of Rule 48, and Edler does have priors. But I'm not sure this is suspension worthy, if we're going to put some onus on what the player being hit is responsible for.

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