It was a busy night for the officials at the Shark Tank, with Minnesota and San Jose combining for 47 penalty minutes. Of course, 15 of those came as a result of one swing of the stick by the Wild’s Ryan Hartman.
Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman was ejected from Thursday night’s game against San Jose for slashing Sharks forward Evander Kane.
Hartman and Kane came together midway through the third period, with San Jose leading 6-4. Kane gave Hartman a cross-check into the boards. Hartman retaliated with a slash across the back of Kane’s knee. Kane immediately fell to the ice, with defenseman Brent Burns challenging Hartman.
As the two were separated by the linesmen, Kane was helped off the ice with apparent injury to his left knee.
Hartman picked up a major penalty for slashing. Kane was given a two-minute minor for cross-checking.
As part of the NHL’s changes to video review, referees are now able to review major penalties, with the option of confirming the call or reducing it to a minor penalty. That determination is made solely by the on-ice officials; the NHL’s Situation Room does not weigh-in on the penalty call.
“After reviewing the major penalty, it is confirmed,” announced referee Chris Schlenker. “Major penalty for slashing.”
The Wild broadcast team of Anthony LaPanta and Ryan Carter expected the penalty to be reduced. Carter noted that Hartman’s stick wasn’t above the waist and not a ‘tomahawk chop’-style swing and LaPanta called out “the fact the Kane is injured on the play shouldn’t have an impact.”
In fact, Rule 61 specifically considers injury.
Slashing is the act of a player swinging his stick at an opponent, whether contact is made or not. […] 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.
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.
A major for slashing also requires that a game misconduct be issued.
Minnesota head coach Bruce Boudreau was frustrated with the call, especially given its confirmation via video review.
“They called it originally as a five-minute major and then they went back and looked at it and they still called it a five-minute major,” Boudreau said. “[Kane] did a great job of selling it. Everyone thought he had a broken ankle and he missed one shift. That’s a good job by him to change the momentum.”
Though Hartman declined to comment after the game, Eric Staal offered his thoughts on the penalty.
“I’ve played for a long time and I played a lot of years ago, and that was a pretty common slash back in the day,” Staal said. “I don’t think it’s a major, but it is what it is. They called it. Great job [penalty] killing. We had some chances to tie it 6. Wasn’t able to get it by the net.”
Minnesota managed to get within one, but the Sharks were able to hang on for a 6-5 win.
No supplemental discipline is expected for Hartman’s slash.
Referees for the game were Chris Schlenker (#3) and Kyle Rehman (#10). Linesmen were Libor Suchanek (#60) and Travis Gawryletz (#67).