November 23, 2011
Thank God Drew Doughty(notes) held out for over $7 million, or he'd be in some dire straits right about now. The Los Angeles Kings defenseman has been fined $2500 for his crosscheck to the back of St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie(notes).
Because we have to pay royalties to Shanahan's office if we say their trademarked phrase, 'the incident occurred', the bad thing happened in the late stages of Tuesday night's game between the two clubs, which the Kings won, 3-2. Have a gander.
As you can see, as Oshie cuts wide, Doughty gives him a stiff two-hander to the back, sending Oshie face-first into the boards.
Doughty received a minor penalty for cross-checking on the play, but the game was two seconds from being complete. It was a bit like admitting something to your parents after you had already moved out -- there's little recourse but muttering.
As Jeremy Roenick points out in the clip, this isn't an entirely dissimilar check from the one that Chris Stewart laid on Niklas Kronwall a week ago. You may recall that Stewart garnered a three-game suspension for his malfeasance, a ban that looked to be a bit of message-sending from Shanahan regarding his disapproval with shoving rather than riding players into the boards. Was Doughty's feasance really that much less "mal" than Stewart's?
Doughty told Andy Strickland that he felt Oshie turned away from the contact suddenly, which, if true, would have turned a shot to the ribs into a shot to the spine:
I thought he turned at the last minute, I was just trying to finish my man. I saw him take a peek and maybe I should have done a shoulder hit as opposed to a cross-check but I had no intention of hurting him and I hope he's okay."
If you watch the clip again, you can see that Oshie does appear to put his back to Doughty in order to shield the puck but, whether he did or he didn't, the fact that it's a possibility is likely why Doughty avoided a ban.
Consider: immediately prior to contact, Oshie is going north-south. In order for him to go headfirst into the side boards, he has to turn somewhat. Stewart on Kronwall differs in that Kronwall is skating towards the side boards, east to west, and Stewart is directly behind him. Stewart sees Kronwall's numbers the entire time -- it can only be a shove from behind.
Both Oshie and Kronwall go headfirst into the boards, but the subtle difference prior to contact is, in my opinion, a major one. Both plays end in dangerous collisions, but it's a lot more dangerous if you put the player into the boards he's already skating towards. More momentum equals a higher likelihood of injury upon impact.
Looking at the play that earned Daniel Carcillo a two-game suspension, a shove to Joni Pitkanen's back that sent the Hurricanes' defenseman into the end boards, we can see the similarities to Stewart's hit over Doughty's. Pitkanen is sprinting to a puck along the end boards and Carcillo shoves him forward just as he gets there.
It's that shove -- using the player's momentum against him -- that Shanahan really dislikes, and it's not what occurred between Doughty and Oshie.
All that said, the fine is probably still too small. Sure, maybe for me that's more money than I'll have in my bank account all year, but Doughty makes that much pulling his socks from the laundry hamper. The fact that $2500 is the maximum allowable fine under the CBA is pretty ridiculous.
Sidenote: Crud, I just realized I said 'the incident occurred' while explaining why I couldn't say it back there. Crud, I just realized I said it again.