After Milan Michalek ‘kicks’ Dan Girardi, NHL mulls discipline options for Game 7

The Ottawa Senators' goal with 38.4 seconds left in the third period of Game 6 against the New York Rangers featured a puck potentially kicked home by Chris Neil's skate; but it's another kick getting attention on the morning after.

Check out the 13-second mark of this video. Watch Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi's lower body jolt. That's Milan Michalek of the Senators putting a skate into this thigh:

The NHL is looking at the play, but hadn't scheduled any formal hearing as of noon on Tuesday. There is better footage from an overhead camera at the arena that didn't air on CBC or NBC on Monday night; whether it's conclusive is another matter.

From Bruce Garrioch of the Sun:

Sources confirmed to the Sun Tuesday morning Shanahan has acquired the CBC footage of the play. If Girardi's claim is verified, Michalek could face a fine or suspension before Game 7 of the series on Thursday in New York.

Michalek doesn't have any past history of bad behaviour with the league, but a source said Girardi was complaining after the game his pant leg was cut because of the incident. If Shanahan considers the incident serious enough for a possible suspension, a hearing would have to be held before puck drop Thursday night at MSG.

The incident is garnering comparisons to this one from the regular season, in which Carolina Hurricanes star Jeff Skinner was suspended for two games for using his skate to push off against Scott Nichol while flat on the ice:

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The one enormous difference between the two: Michalek is in the bottom of a pile, having already been face-washed by Ryan Callahan on the way down. Skinner was reacting to a hit along the boards.

As anyone that's played tackle football can attest: Your body can go into flailing survival mode when you've been sandwiched by other players. The question is whether Michalek can be taken out of a Game 7 for reacting the way he did given the circumstances.

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