Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien has avoided supplemental discipline for his high hit on Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher.

Byfuglien was given a minor for elbowing from referees Steve Kozari and Ghislain Hebert. After review, it’s apparent that Byfuglien’s elbow came up after the hit, though it’s understandable in real-time – along with Gallagher’s helmet popping up – that it initially appeared to be an elbow.

Gallagher was not injured on the play and is expected to be in the Canadiens’ lineup tonight.

Of course, the pure physics of it make for a greater spectacle. Byfuglien, at 6-foot-5 and 260 lbs, has a distinct advantage over the 5-foot-9, 184 lb. Gallagher. The Jets blueliner is well-versed in using his size to his advantage.

In their decision not to suspend Byfuglien, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety cited the size difference between the two players along with the fact that Byfuglien kept his “elbow tucked and his skates on the ice through contact.” The league attributed the explosiveness of the hit to “significant hip contact with Gallagher’s hands” which appears to be the argument made by the Jets.

Remember, suspension decisions are made solely on the basis of the hit itself. Only after a decision has been made to suspend a player do they consider his history to help determine the length of that suspension.

Here’s the official ruling from the NHL:

Byfuglien was suspended for four games in April 2015 for cross-checking New York Rangers forward J.T. Miller. He avoided suspension earlier this season for a dangerous hit on Minnesota’s Jason Pominville.

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