The NHL Global Series may have resulted in the first NHL suspension from overseas.
Winnipeg Jets forward Brendan Lemieux was given a match penalty for his hit on Florida Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck during Friday’s game in Helsinki, Finland. The NHL’s Department of Player Safety will undoubtedly be reviewing the hit.
The two players collided near center ice. Trocheck had just released a pass when Lemieux, cutting towards the boards, hit him up high with a shoulder.
Trocheck was down on this ice for some time, but did stay in the game, presumably having cleared the league’s concussion protocol.
Referees Dan O’Rourke and Gord Dwyer ejected Lemieux, who also picked up an additional five minutes for fighting Florida’s MacKenzie Weegar. Weegar was also given an instigator and a misconduct.
Illegal hits to the head are covered by Rule 48:
A hit resulting in contact with an opponent’s head where the head was the main point of contact and such contact to the head was avoidable is not permitted.
In determining whether contact with an opponent’s head was avoidable, the circumstances of the hit including the following shall be considered:
(i) Whether the player attempted to hit squarely through the opponent’s body and the head was not “picked” as a result of poor timing, poor angle of approach, or unnecessary extension of the body upward or outward.
(ii) Whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position by assuming a posture that made head contact on an otherwise full body check unavoidable.
(iii) Whether the opponent materially changed the position of his body or head immediately prior to or simultaneously with the hit in a way that significantly contributed to the head contact.
48.2 Minor Penalty – For violation of this rule, a minor penalty shall be assessed.
48.5 Match Penalty – The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a match penalty if, in his judgment, the player attempted to or deliberately injured his opponent with an illegal check to the head. If deemed appropriate, supplementary discipline can be applied by the Commissioner at his discretion.
The Jets are off until next Friday, when they return home to face the Colorado Avalanche, giving the NHL’s Department of Player Safety plenty of time to take a second look.