UPDATE:  Andersson has been suspended four games.


Calgary Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson will have a hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for a hit on Columbus Blue Jackets forward Patrik Laine.

Late in Friday’s game, trailing 3-1, Calgary pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker.  The puck made its way to Laine, who snapped a shot at the empty net.  Just as he released the puck, Andersson delivered a high, hard hit to the Columbus forward. 

Laine remained down on the ice as the horn sounded, but later left the ice under his own power. 

Andersson raises his left arm at the time of the hit, appearing to deliver an elbow to Laine. While the initial point of contact may have been the shoulder, raising the elbow results in head contact on the play that is otherwise avoidable. 

Elbowing shall mean the use of an extended elbow in a manner that may or may not cause injury.

A major penalty, at the discretion of the Referee, shall be imposed on any player who uses his elbow to illegally check an opponent. A major penalty must be imposed under this rule for an infraction resulting in an injury to the face or head of an opponent.

Referees Kelly Sutherland and Peter MacDougall called a major penalty for elbowing on the play, which looks like a good call. You can clearly see the Flames blueliner extending his left elbow to make contact with Laine’s shoulder and head.

Note that Laine’s body position – on the follow-through of the shot – contributes to the head contact on this play. Rule 48, for Illegal Checks to the Head, considers the following:

(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.

Furthermore, Andersson appears to leave his skates, jumping into the hit. This is charging.

A minor or major penalty shall be imposed on a player who skates, jumps into or charges an opponent in any manner.

Laine did not travel with the team and will miss tonight’s game against the Wild; he is currently day-to-day.

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety has scheduled a hearing with Andersson to review the hit for elbowing and charging. Expect him to miss a game or two.