It was reported by TSN’s Bob McKenzie this afternoon that New York Rangers’ forward Rick Nash would receive no supplemental discipline for his dangerous hit on Panthers’ forward Tomas Kopecky during last night’s game. This news should not only come as a shock to Panthers’ fans, but also the entire NHL as Nash clearly skipped out on what obviously should have been at least 1-game suspension. Considering NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan has been handing out suspensions like candy in recent weeks, the lack of punishment for Nash’s hit becomes that more baffling.
Below I have taken the time to look over just what rules were broken during Rick Nash’s hit as well as comparing the incident to other recent player indiscretions.
Rules That Were Broken During The Nash Hit
“Rule 48.1 Illegal Check to the Head – A hit resulting in contact with an opponent’s head where the head is targeted and the principal point of contact is not permitted. However, in determining whether such a hit should have been permitted, the circumstances of the hit, including whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the hit or the head contact on an otherwise legal body check was avoidable, can be considered.”
Please continue reading:
Update: Brendan Shanahan has challenged the fact that Kopecky was not in the head, but rather the upper-back. However, after reviewing numerous videos and screen caps I still think it remains clear that Nash made substantial contact with Kopecky’s head during the hit.
“Rule 42.1 Charging - A minor or major penalty shall be imposed on a player who skates or jumps into, or charges an opponent in any manner.Charging shall mean the actions of a player who, as a result of distance traveled, shall violently check an opponent in any manner. A “charge” may be the result of a check into the boards, into the goal frame or in open ice.”
Recent Hits That Merited A Suspension
On March 20th, this head shot on Victor Hedman earned Joffrey Lupul a 2-game suspension. (Note he doesn’t leave his feet)
After receiving a 2-game suspension only two days ago, an upset Joffrey Lupul shared his thoughts on the Nash hit today via Twitter:
If someone can explain the decisions on what warrants a suspension and what doesn't, please let me and the rest of guys know..—
Joffrey Lupul (@JLupul) March 22, 2013
On January 23rd, Brayden Schenn received a 1-game suspension for this hit on Anton Volchenkov.
Where’s the Justice?
After reviewing the NHL rule book as well other recent player suspensions, it becomes apparent that the NHL clearly made a mistake by not handing out any kind of punishment to Rick Nash. Considering how much the league has tried to improve player safety – especially in relation to head trauma – this lack of discipline could open the floodgates to criticism both now and in the future. After letting a hit as egregious as this one slide, the league has done itself a great disservice not only as it relates to player safety, but in the public relations department as well.
Update: Brendan Shanahan has released his explanation as to why there was no suspension – it can be found here.
Thanks for reading and please feel free to share your comments on the Rick Nash hit in the comments section below!
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