In the second period of the Winnipeg Jets' 4-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on home ice — not exactly the stuff of successful playoff pushes, that one — defenseman Zach Bogosian laid out Carolina's Andrea Nodl with a check. Well, not so much a "check" as a charging leap into him like they were in the pit at a hardcore show:
Bogosian was given a 5-minute major for charging and a game misconduct. But that's it. Bob McKenzie of TSN reports no suspension for the hit.
Cue the outrage, but the NHL got this one right.
As Barry Petchesky of Deadspin noted, Bogosian has twice escaped suspension this season despite an elbow to the head of Washington Capitals rookie Cody Eakin and a hit from behind on Pierre Marc-Bouchard, which earned Bogosian a game misconduct but not a suspension.
That latter hit was a fair case for supplemental discipline; in fact, were Bogosian to be suspended for his hit on Nodl, it would have had the unmistakable whiff of a "sum total" suspension for his play this season, like a referee giving a player a make-up call during the game. If that's what you're into, fine; we'd rather see questionable plays judged on their own, with previous infractions only entering into the "punishment" phase. Which is exactly how Brendan Shanahan does things.
Did Bogosian leap into the hit? Yes. Did he use his elbows? They were tucked away. Did he target the head? Absolutely not, nor was the head the principal point of contact, nor did Nodl's head make contact with the ice like Sami Salo's did on that Marchand low-bridge earlier this season.
That said, Nodl didn't return for the third period.
It was a dangerous hit that deserved a game misconduct, but not every game misconduct warrants supplemental discipline. We've been conditioned to expect such things when a player "leaves his skates" on a hit, but nothing else about Bogosian's check fit the definition of what Brendan Shanahan and the Dept. of Player Safety have targeted this season — yes, even despite the apparent injury.
The comparable play was Mark Fistric's suspension for his hit on Nino Niederrieter.
Fistric went higher and hit the Islanders rookie after his released the puck. It's a much more explosive hit: Upward into the skater vs. a parallel leap. I don't see this as a similar play. Maybe you do.
The outrage was expected on the Bogosian hit. The fact that the NHL didn't cave to it is to its credit. He's a player that's playing on the edge of legality, and crossed it last night. But that doesn't mean he should be in street clothes for the next few games.
- Zach Bogosian
- Winnipeg Jets