The NHL is out to end head shots, but they're still willing to condone the occasional punch to the head. That's not a headshot. I mean, sure, it's a shot directly to the head, but it's different.
And still, they draw the line at sneaky punches. NO SNEAKY PUNCHES.
It would appear that Jordan Nolan forgot about this distinction, unfortunately, so he's been handed a gentle reminder in the form of a one-game suspension for this cheap and despicable sucker-punch on Jesse Joensuu of the Edmonton Oilers.
"It is perfectly reasonable for Joensuu to expect that he will not be punched in this situation."
Story of my life.
This might be the rare instance where the Department of Player Safety's video does more damage than good. Rather than explaining things, it just serves to confuse. As we see what Nolan did from multiple angles, it seems pretty clear that this calls for more than a brief one-game grounding, so when Patrick Burke explains, at the end, that this is all Nolan is getting, it's a stunner.
The argument for more games is right there in the script.
"It's important to note that not only are Joensuu's arms tied up by the linesmen," says Patrick Burke, "but the scrum has essentially ended when Nolan decides to throw this punch."
A punch, Burke adds, that's thrown with significant force. How is punching a completely defenseless and unsuspecting opponent that flipping hard worthy of just one game?
Explain to me how what I'm seeing here gets one-fifteenth the suspension that Shawn Thornton got for doing something similar to Brooks Orpik. Fewer games, I can understand, I guess, since Joensuu didn't leave on a stretcher. But that's just dumb luck. Are we letting luck hand out the suspensions now?
Nolan may have a relatively clean rap sheet, this strikes me as more than a one-gamer. My guess is it struck Joensuu similarly.