UPDATE:  Hathaway has been fined $5,000 for kneeing by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. Their decisions are independent of any penalty calls on the ice.


Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski was injured in a knee-on-knee hit from Philadelphia Flyers forward Garnet Hathaway that was ruled a minor penalty after review. 

Referee Justin Kea, positioned in the corner, had a front-row seat for the collision. He initially called a major penalty on the play, which was then reviewed by the on-ice officials. 


The final decision on penalty reviews comes from the on-ice officials, not the Situation Room.  They have the option of reducing the call to a minor penalty or potentially wiping out the call completely. 

After review, Hathaway’s major was dropped to a minor penalty.  Here’s the difference, from Rule 50:

Kneeing is the act of a player leading with his knee and in some cases extending his leg outwards to make contact with his opponent.

The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a minor [or major] penalty, based on the severity of the infraction, to a player guilty of kneeing an opponent. When a player has been assessed a major penalty for kneeing he shall also be assessed a Game Misconduct.

The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a match penalty if, in his judgment, the player attempted to or deliberately injured his opponent by kneeing.

Hathaway appeared to apologize to Werenski as the injured blueliner was being helped off the ice.

Werenski missed all but 13 games last season due to injuries. This was his first game in the Blue Jackets’ lineup since November 10, 2022, when he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury playing against… the Philadelphia Flyers. 

No question the NHL’s Department of Player Safety will be reviewing this hit…