Everyone is aware of what took place last Thursday during the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning when Ruslan Fedotenko had to leave the game because of a hit sustained from Dominic Moore. After review, Moore received a $2500 fine, not a suspension, for the incident. The outcry was apparent as it looked like Moore targeted the head but, after looking at other views of the play, Fedotenko’s stick makes contact with his head and not any part of Moore.
Here’s the video explanation from Brendan Shanahan:
Follow after the jump for why that explanation is flawed.
The main point to examine as to why that play is reckless is Fedotenko is nowhere near the puck. His focus is on the puck along the boards to make a play while Moore comes in laterally. The simple fact Moore makes any kind of contact should be called interference because Fedotenko doesn’t have the puck. There was no penalty called on the play.
Also, in the video, Shanahan claims that, since Moore didn’t target the head of Fedotenko, he didn’t feel it was worthy of a suspension. The logic behind that is a tad flawed for this reason: Fedontenko’s stick never hits his head if Moore opts to not deliver illegal contact in the first place. Additionally, the act of Moore driving his elbow back to “finish” his check is worrisome because the direction of the motion directed near Fedotenko’s head.
It was said during the game players heard Moore chirping about a hit delivered to him by Fedotenko earlier in the game and Moore’s hit was retaliatory. That may be the case, however, there’s no way of proving it. Hockey is a dangerous sport sometimes because of the incidental contacts that can occur because of players focusing on the puck. Contact altogether should not, and will not, be completely eliminated from the sport.
Nonetheless, to say Moore shouldn’t have been suspended is incorrect. There was no need for the contact he delivered on Fedotenko, who was injured on the play and has missed the past two games. Shanahan has done a “fair” job in his new position as Head of Player Safety and players around the league have given him more work than he should need. However, his decisions to not punish players more for hair-pulling incidents, illegal contacts, etc. lately have the collective NHL world scratching their heads.