October 02, 2011
Another day, another headshot. This one comes courtesy of defenseman Alex Edler, who catches forward Taylor Hall(notes) with an elbow right on the top of the helmet in the second period of Saturday night's preseason game between the Vancouver Canucks and the Edmonton Oilers.
As we know, Brendan Shanahan(notes) hates headshots with a fiery passion. He hates them so much he insists on being filmed from the waist up rather than the neck up. Hence, it stands to reason that he'll be taking a look at this incident.
Oilers' coach Tom Renney certainly didn't like the hit. From The Vancouver Province:
"I was a little more disturbed by (Edler's hit)," said Renney. "You're 6-foot-3, got get the puck. Why hit a guy who is reaching for the puck? Go get it yourself."
Will Shanahan feel similarly? Should Edler be expecting a disapproving phone call?
Maybe not. While the reverse angle provides a concrete view of what is clearly a hit to the head, it's possible that Edler escapes suspension because Hall puts himself in a vulnerable position. Shanahan has repeatedly pointed out that a factor in his decisions on such hits is whether or not the hittee makes "sudden movements immediately prior to or simultaneous with the hit." In this case, Hall does.
As the two men charge into the corner, Edler, anticipating the hit and knowing full well that he's the bigger man, decides to stand Hall up. But Hall, knowing the same thing, opts instead to avoid the collision. He tries to get underneath Edler and poke the puck away instead.
It works, and the puck jumps around the boards, but with Edler in the process of throwing a hit, Hall's sudden, unexpected crouch puts his head right in the line of fire. Edler isn't even looking when Hall's adjustment and the subsequent hit occur, so there's no opportunity for him to adjust his course or avoid Hall's head.
Still, it's a blatant hit to the head, and the fact that Edler has his elbow jutting out like he's picking up a date for the prom is a concern. You've got to tuck that in, big fellow.
What do you guys think? Will Edler be sitting out the Canucks' season opener?