Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Video: Downie Charge, Kunitz Elbows To Head Leaves NHL More Discipline Questions

Through the first week of the NHL playoffs it seems as if there is as much discussion of questionable hits and suspensions as the games themselves.  That was the case again tonight during Game 3 of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Steve Downie opened up the questionable hits when he left his feet to charge Ben Lovejoy at 5:39 of the first period.  The fact that he left his feet, let alone made contact with the head of Lovejoy should guarantee a suspension.  Downie’s charge is not the first time he has made a move like this in his career.

Later in the first period, Chris Kunitz did his best Matt Cooke impression with a blatant elbow to the back of the head of Simon Gagne.  The Kunitz hit might be worse than the one that got Cooke suspended for the rest regular season and first round of the playoffs.  What makes Kunitz elbow so bad is the intentionally swinging of the elbow at the back of Gange’s head. 

Video via The Score:

Both players should be out for at least the rest of the series, if not longer.  Neither play was at all hockey related and while both players stayed in the game after the intent and/or potential for serious injury still remains.  The level of injury or lack of one to the opponent should have no bearing on whether supplemental action is taken, or the severity of that action. The spotlight once again turns to the league office to see how they dole out the supplemental discipline to see exactly what is out of bounds right now and how severely it will be punished