Defensemen PK Subban of the Montreal Canadiens and Steve Staios of the New York Islanders both laid out opponents with brutal hits on Thursday night. How brutal, and how illegal, is being debated by fans and, eventually, by Brendan Shanahan and the NHL Department of Player Safety.
Subban had the more blatant of the two hits, earning an elbowing minor after a high hit on David Krejci of the Boston Bruins:
Andrew Ference of the Bruins tried to fight Subban, who turtled. Said Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com: "P.K. Subban hit on David Krejci looked clean on the first replay I saw, but multiple viewings showed some forearm/elbow contact to Krejci's head."
Julien didn't get a good view of Subban's hit, but was confident that Ference would not have jumped in if not warranted.
"I couldn't see [the hit] from where it was on the bench because it happened in front of theirs," Julien said. "It was called elbowing, so I don't know where he elbowed him, but if it was a dangerous elbow, then you'd hope, again, that -- I'm going to go back to what I said less than a week ago, we're going to police ourselves as far as protecting ourselves, and that's the way we've decided to handle it. Sometimes it comes with consequences, but at the end of the day, I think that everybody knows that if they're going to cross the line with us, they're going to have to face the music."
The Staios hit, on Max Talbot of the Philadelphia Flyers, is a little murkier.
The officials told Flyers Coach Peter Laviolette that it was a "clean, full-body check." Talbot told CSN Philly that he "felt it was a pretty dangerous hit." Travis Hughes of Broad Street Hockey wrote that "it's textbook Rule 48, and elbow right to the noggin."
They didn't overcall a Steve Staios hit on Maxime Talbot though. Initial hit looked good but may have had the dreaded elbow/head contact on the follow through. Talbot certainly was vulnerable. My replays weren't clear, the refs didn't call anything to begin with, so their conferencing afterward made me nervous. (And the league may yet review it, though Talbot didn't miss a shift and thus lacks the "evident injury on the play.")
That last point will be a key to anything coming down the pike on Staios from the League: If an injury manifests itself after the game.
As for Subban … well, leaping headshots are generally frowned upon. The Shanahammer swings for thee, sir.