December 11, 2011
The Ottawa Senators have been on Nick Foligno to be tougher, so there had to be some part of them that didn't exactly mind the show of physicality he put on versus the Vancouver Canucks Saturday night. However, struggling as they are right now, the last thing Ottawa needs is for an important member of their forwards corps to miss time with a suspension for a headshot.
And after Friday night, they have two headshots to worry about. The first incident occurred midway through the first period, when Foligno laid a massive check on Cody Hodgson at the boards. As you can see, the contact was to the head.
Working against Foligno: Hodgson left the game and did not return, and you can see why. I'm not sure which was more alarming: the Bambi legs or the Dopey simper (all concussion symptoms can be explained with Disney references). That's scary stuff right there.
After the game, coach Alain Vigneault was quick to say that Hodgson was feeling "fine" enough to return, but was prevented from doing so as a precaution by the team doctors. We'll see if this holds up. Hodgson looked more than a little dazed.
Working for Foligno: There was no penalty on the play, presumably because Hodgson not only put himself in a vulnerable position by trying to cut back with a quick move, but also because he appeared to catch an edge. The rookie centre seemed to be falling forward, and Foligno hardly had time to adjust his course.
This is the sort of hit Shanahan typically lets go for "sudden movement immediately prior to contact".
But, if Foligno gets a pass on that one, he's also got another one to worry about, this time midway through the second period on Ryan Kesler.
The hit is in nearly the exact same place, both on the ice and on the body. Foligno drives through Kesler's head as the Canuck forward is falling down along the boards.
Working for Foligno: Unlike Hodgson, Kesler got up shortly after the hit and stayed in the game. Fortunately for both he and Foligno, his head never actually made contact with the boards, or this could have been much worse.
Working against Foligno: this time, a penalty was called, as the Senators' forward was assessed a 2 minute-minor for boarding and a 10 minute misconduct. It's not entirely surprising. Like Hodgson, Kesler was falling, but this time around, it appeared as though Foligno had time to see that and change his course and he didn't.
Foligno was upset because he felt that Kesler embellished on the play (and the Canucks' centre has been known to do that), but the issue here isn't the moment after the hit -- it's the moment immediately before it.
I'd argue that, although the first hit was more injurious, the second will be of more interest to the the NHL. But will either garner suspension? Will both? Do Shanabans come in twin packs?