Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ryan Callahan was given a five minute major for boarding Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang 2:50 into the first period of Friday’s night’s opening game of the Eastern Conference Final.
UPDATE: There will be no hearing for Callahan, per the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.
Letang was momentarily motionless on the ice as Callahan was escorted to the penalty box.
Referees Wes McCauley and Francis Charron discussed the play with linesmen Greg Devorski and Jonny Murray. The verdict was handed down, delivered by McCauley: five minutes for boarding.
Callahan was fortunate to avoid an ejection from the game.
Here are the specifics of Rule 41 – Boarding:
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 (see 41.5).
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.
Though Letang was helped off the ice to the locker room – where he remained for quite some time – the decision not to send Callahan to the showers implies that the officials felt there was no injury on the play.
Letang did return later in the period.
This is the best angle of the hit. pic.twitter.com/hhBb3X9w80
— Shane O'Donnell (@shane1342o) May 14, 2016
Expect the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to take a long, hard look at this hit. The forearm to the back of Letang’s head doesn’t look good. So far this postseason, we’ve see that Player Safety isn’t afraid to levy some supplemental discipline.
Oh, and if Callahan does avoid suspension, there’s always this:
41.6 Fines and Suspensions – When a major penalty is imposed under this rule, an automatic fine of one hundred dollars ($100) shall be imposed.
That’ll teach him.