Los Angeles Kings forward Jacob Doty will sit for two games after what Player Safety called a ‘high, hard, late’ hit.
Doty has been suspended two games for interference on San Jose Sharks forward Jeffrey Viel. The Kings forward delivered a late hit on Viel midway through the second period of Wednesday’s game at Toyota Arena in Ontario, California. Viel tipped the puck into the attacking zone well before Doty delivered a high, hard check.
Referees Graham Skilliter and Reid Anderson handed out a major penalty for interference on the play, along with a game misconduct.
Rule 56 covers interference:
A minor penalty for interference shall be imposed: On a player who interferes with or impedes the progress of an opponent who is not in possession of the puck [or] on any player who deliberately checks an opponent, including the goalkeeper, who is not in possession of the puck;
The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a major penalty, based on the degree of violence, to a player guilty of
interfering with an opponent.
When a major penalty is imposed under this rule for a foul resulting in an injury of an opponent, a game misconduct shall be imposed.
NHL Department of Player Safety detailed their ruling.
As the video shows, the Sharks break the puck out of their zone, with Viel skating through center and Doty set up to defend. The puck is sent through the neutral zone to Viel, who one-touches it into the Kings’ end. Then, well after the puck is gone and outside the window where a check may be legally finished, Doty delivers a late, hard, high hit that makes significant contact with the head of Viel. This is interference.
Players who are not in possession of the park are never eligible to be checked, however the interference rule provides a brief window where a player who initiates a check while his opponent is in possession of the puck may finish the hit. This is not such a play. Here, Doty begins his hitting motion after Viel tips the puck and contact is made outside the window where a check may be legally finished.
In addition to the lateness, what causes this hit to rise to the level of supplemental discipline is the significant head contact on this play combined with the force of the blow.
With no paychecks in the preseason, Doty doesn’t miss out on any money as a result of the ban. He does lose two valuable opportunities to make an impact regarding his role on the team.
Doty joins Seattle’s Jacob Melanson as the second player this preseason suspended prior to making his NHL debut.
Referees for the game were Graham Skilliter (#24) and Reid Anderson (#49); linesmen were Mitch Hunt (#62) and Travis Toomey (#90).