Puck Daddy - NHL

Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf(notes) picked up an assist and was a plus-2 in his first game back from the nasal sinus fractures (yowch) he suffered back on Dec. 28, 2010.

But Vancouver Canucks fans will remember his return to the lineup on Wednesday night for one reason: His third-period hit on Dan Hamhuis(notes) that knocked the defenseman out of the 4-3 loss to the Ducks.

Here's the play in question; what's your take on this Getzlaf hit?

How the AP saw it:

Hamhuis had just passed the puck and turned his back as Getzlaf came around the net from behind and delivered a check to the back of his left shoulder.

But Hamhuis’ head hit the glass hard and he fell immediately to the ice, flat on his back for several minutes before finally sitting up.

Hamhuis eventually skated to the bench with a teammate holding either arm, and went straight to the locker room. There was no penalty to Getzlaf, who was playing his first game since missing six weeks with facial fractures.

Hamhuis had clearly released the puck. Getzlaf doesn't leave his skates before the hit. It appears he's attempting to deliver a shoulder-to-shoulder check, but the angle of Hamhuis' body sent his head bouncing off the glass on contact. The question: Was that angle a result of Hamhuis turning his body away from the hit?

Many Canucks fans and other observers tagged it as a dirty hit; we're not so sure.

Dan Murphy of Sportsnet reported after the game that Canucks coach Alain Vigneault indicatd Hamhuis "looked fine after the game except for a big red welt" on his face. Said the coach: "It's a big man hitting our D-man, it's a part of the game."

With Alex Edler and Keith Ballard(notes) out of the lineup, and with Sami Salo(notes) still yet to get back into it, this was an excruciatingly tense moment for Vancouver fans. The preliminary assessment from Vigneault sounds promising ... and what's this? Salo back on Saturday? Strange to hear good injury news from the Vancouver blue line. 

Stick-tap to Crash the Crease.

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