On Sunday night, in a game between the Ottawa Senators and the Carolina Hurricanes, Kevin Westgarth delivered a hit he should not have. After Senators' defenseman Mark Borowiecki blew a tire in the corner, Westgarth went at him and wound up driving the blueliner, who was hunched over and facing the boards and he tried to get back to his feet, into the wall headfirst.
But by hitting Borowiecki in a vulnerable spot, Westgarth put himself into a vulnerable spot as well. And on Tuesday, with Westgarth hunched in a suspendable position, the Department of Player Safety nailed him. He'll sit for two games.
It's not a complicated explanation, although it's worth noting that it's not actually as bad as it originally looked.
As Shanahan explains during a slowed-down replay from the side angle, "the brunt of the contact is between Borowiecki's knee and Westgarth's pants. The elevation that occurs in this point is more the result of Westgarth falling over Borowiecki."
Suffice it to say, that bodes a whole lot better for Westgarth than if he had driven Borowiecki's head into the boards directly. But it doesn't absolve him. Not when he had so much time to realize this hit was a bad, bad idea. Unfortunately, he never did, so the DOPS had to serve him a reminder.
"Regardless," Shanahan says, "at no point, from the moment Westgarth changes direction, is Borowiecki ever eligible to be checked."
"This is a time when Westgarth should completely avoid contact."
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