October 18, 2011
"At 13:08 of the third period, Kris Letang(notes) of the Pittsburgh Penguins hits Alexander Burmistrov of the Winnipeg Jets from behind, and was given at 2-minute penalty for boarding. As the video shows …"
Oh, sorry. Just practicing our Brendan Shanahan(notes) impression in front of the mirror again, as we could get another Shannaban video after today's hearing between Letang on the Department of Player Safety. Here's the play in question:
The Penguins broadcast managed to cram a lot of comedy into that one clip. We can't decide if we like Bob Errey's "Burmistrov lost his footing" claim or his "there won't be any further call anywhere" prediction better. We're also quite fond of the camera cut to Matt Cooke(notes) during a discussion of boarding penalties.
Did Burmistrov turn his back to absorb the hit or to play the puck; and does it fall on Letang to hold up regardless? That's the essential question. Once more, with feeling, the current rule on boarding:
The onus is on the player applying the check to ensure his opponent is not in a defenseless position and if so, he must avoid or minimize contact. However, in determining whether such contact could have been avoided, the circumstances of the check, including whether the opponent put himself in vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the check or whether the check was unavoidable can be considered.
Letang didn't have malicious intent here, but still hit a guy in the numbers. Burmistrov put himself in a vulnerable position, but it was to play the puck. Interesting call for Shanahan, but I'd leave it at a boarding penalty with nothing further. Then again, I'm not the guy trying to legislate this stuff out of the game.