Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski has somehow eluded the Department of Player Safety for his thunderous hit on Buffalo Sabres winger Brian Gionta.
In the first period of Sunday’s game, Gionta went to receive a pass just inside his own blueline. With his head down, he never saw Bartkowski coming. The Bruins defender hit Gionta with a bodycheck that sent him flying. More specifically, it flipped him over.
Gionta’s teammate Marcus Foligno immediately challenged Bartkowski, dropping the gloves for a brief fight.
After the dust settled, Bartkowski was gone with a major penalty for interference along with a game misconduct. He also received a fighting major. Foligno was given an instigator and five for fighting. Both Foligno and Gionta were injured and unable to return to the game.
Despite how nasty the hit looked, as well as the fact that it caused an injury to Gionta, it looks like Bartkowski will not face further discipline from the league:
No supplemental discipline or hearing coming for Matt Bartkowski on Brian Gionta hit, per a source. Shoulder was principle point of contact
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) December 22, 2014
Bartkowski has no disciplinary history in the NHL and has never been suspended by the league.
Referees for the game were Dave Jackson and Frederick L’Ecuyer.
Update: Adam Gretz over at CBS Sports provides an explanation from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety:
According to the department of player safety, this was play was an example of incidental head contact on an otherwise full body check and that the head is not the main point of contact. The league also believes that Gionta put himself in a vulnerable position and that Bartkowski neither “extends upward or picks the head.”