At 5:17 of the first period Monday night, Ryan Johnson of the Chicago Blackhawks skated and passed the puck in his defensive zone when a freight train that goes by the name of Todd Bertuzzi came roaring at him.
The result? A sloppy hit that resulted in Bertuzzi's elbow and arm slamming into Johnson's head, earning the Detroit Red Wings winger a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
Johnson skated off the ice and went to the back at 5:17 and returned to the ice at 9:55. Which doesn't seem like 15 minutes.
Obviously, any play like this (a) in our hyper-sensitive culture on head shots and (b) in the wake of Matt Cooke's(notes) regular-season-plus-a-playoff-round suspension and (c) involving Todd Bertuzzi is going to spark a debate. Will it be a suspension? Tough to say.
Bertuzzi has a clean record this season and, honestly, it's a little muddled as to what part of the arm actually caught him. But a head shot is a head shot and, as Mike Milbury said on VERSUS, it was a "chicken poop hit," the way Bertuzzi turned his back into Johnson.
Hit him straight on, and it may not have been a penalty. Hit him like this, and it's a gamer.
What say you on this play? Worthy of a suspension?