PK Subban was forced to watch the final 31 minutes of the Canadiens’ 4-3 win from the locker room. The Habs, already without winger Max Pacioretty, staged an impressive comeback win over the Ottawa Senators as their top blueliner served a game misconduct penalty.
Subban was ejected after slashing Senators forward Mark Stone at 8:23 of the second period in Wednesday night’s game. Stone writhed around on the ice in apparent pain before heading to the locker room. Referees Dave Jackson and Steve Kozari issued a five-minute major to Subban along with a game misconduct.
From the NHL rulebook:
61.1 Slashing – Slashing is the act of a player swinging his stick at an opponent, whether contact is made or not. Non-aggressive stick contact to the pant or front of the shin pads, should not be penalized as slashing. Any forceful or powerful chop with the stick on an opponent’s body, the opponent’s stick, or on or near the opponent’s hands that, in the judgment of the Referee, is not an attempt to play the puck, shall be penalized as slashing.
61.2 Minor Penalty – A minor penalty, at the discretion of the Referee based on the severity of the contact, shall be imposed on a player who slashes an opponent.
61.3 Major Penalty – A major penalty, at the discretion of the Referee based on the severity of the contact, shall be imposed on a player who slashes an opponent. When injury occurs, a major penalty must be assessed under this rule.
61.5 Game Misconduct Penalty – Whenever a major penalty is assessed for slashing, a game misconduct penalty must also be imposed.
In an instant, referee Steve Kozari needed to assess the play and make a determination on the injury to Stone. For a slashing call, you’ll note, there’s no double minor. It’s a minor or a major. If there’s an injury, it’s automatically a major penalty, which must include a game misconduct.
You can argue with the NHL’s rules, but the officials called that one by the book.
The Senators’ Response
Ottawa head coach Dave Cameron offered a response to Subban’s slash. “I think it’s an easy solution,” Cameron said after the game. “You either suspend him or one of their best players gets slashed and just give us five. Not that complicated.”
Sens forward Mark Stone took a less aggressive stance on the play.
“Obviously it was a pretty big hack,” said Stone. “It looked like he wanted to hurt me. He tried targeting me a few times after faceoffs in the first period. He knew what he was doing.”
When asked whether Subban deserved a suspension for the slash, Stone deferred. “That’s up to the league,” he said.
(stick-tap to /r/hockeygamegifs for the clip)