New York Islanders center Anders Lee is waiting to hear from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for a high hit on St. Louis Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson.
The hit happened with 12:45 to go in the second period of Saturday night’s game when Lee came in hard on Gunnarsson, who was pinching in to play the puck at the blueline. Lee’s forearm appeared to drive Gunnarsson’s head into the glass. Islanders forward Brock Nelson immediately waved over the medical trainer. After remaining down for nearly a minute, Gunnarsson skated off. He did not return to the game.
Lee was not given a penalty on the play by referees Tim Peel and Kelly Sutherland.
It was initially reported that Lee would not have a hearing for his high hit on Gunnarsson. Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek reported the league was not pursuing supplemental discipline based on the feeling that Lee’s arm was up to get body positioning and to protect the puck.
As of Monday morning, it appeared the NHL’s Department of Player Safety was reconsidering that decision — especially after Gunnarsson reportedly suffered a concussion on the play.
NY Islanders forward Anders Lee will have a hearing today for illegal check to the head/elbowing on St. Louis defenseman Carl Gunnarsson
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) December 8, 2014
It’s nice to see the league taking a second look at the hit, even if they ultimately opt not to hand out a suspension. We can only hope that the reconsideration was not because of the severity of Gunnarsson’s injury. It’s important to get head shots out of the game regardless of the eventual outcome of what is clearly a questionable hit.