Seattle Kraken forward Jordan Eberle will not face supplemental discipline for an illegal hit that fractured the neck of the Colorado Avalanche’s Andrew Cogliano.

The hit came with 2:20 remaining in the second period of Friday’s Game 6. Eberle was given a minor penalty for boarding.



Cogliano was injured on the play. He left the game and headed off the ice for medical attention, before returning later in the game. On Saturday, it was announced that Cogliano suffered a fractured spine on the play.

Boarding is covered in Rule 41:

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.

Officials may asess a minor or major penalty depending on the “degree of violence of the impact”, with a match penalty if they determine that the player attempted to injure his opponent.  

Avs head coach Jared Bednar was puzzled by the lack of action by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.

“I don’t know,” Bednar said of the league’s decision not to take disciplinary action. “I can’t figure it out anymore. I don’t even try.”


The Avalanche won the game 4-1 to force a deciding Game 7 on Sunday. Referees for the game were Gord Dwyer (#19) and Jon McIsaac (#2); linesmen were Kyle Flemington (#55) and Ryan Gibbons (#58).