“Mr. Reaves, you have a call on line one.  Something about Player Safety?”

St. Louis Blues forward Ryan Reaves should be expecting that call after a brutal headshot on San Jose Sharks defenseman Matt Tennyson.   The hit happened midway through the first period of Monday night’s game. 

UPDATED:  That call came in. Reaves will have a phone hearing on Wednesday.

Reaves was given a five minute major for boarding along with a game misconduct by referee Dan O’Rourke.

From the NHL Rule Book:

41.1 Boarding – A boarding penalty shall be imposed on any player who checks or pushes a defenseless opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to hit or impact the boards violently or dangerously. The severity of the penalty, based upon the impact with the boards, shall be at the discretion of the Referee.

There is an enormous amount of judgment involved in the application of this rule by the Referees. The onus is on the player applying the check to ensure his opponent is not in a defenseless position and if so, he must avoid or minimize contact. However, in determining whether such contact could have been avoided, the circumstances of the check, including whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the check or whether the check was unavoidable can be considered. This balance must be considered by the Referees when applying this rule.

41.3 Major Penalty – The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a major penalty, based on the degree of violence of the impact with the boards, to a player guilty of boarding an opponent.

41.5 Game Misconduct Penalty – When a major penalty is imposed under this rule for a foul resulting in an injury to the face or head of an opponent, a game misconduct shall be imposed.

Reaves also picks up an automatic $100 fine for receiving a boarding major, per 41.6.

He’ll likely receive more in the way of missed games and salary lost, as the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is undoubtedly reviewing this hit.