- Infallible Twitter is twittering that there will be no suspension for Erik Cole because of his late, intentional, blind-side head-shot to Drew Doughty. Infallible Twitter also reports the league saying that it was "incidental contact."
It's entirely possible that Twitter is lying. So factor that in.
Puck Headlines: Leafs ignoring Avery; update on Cole/Doughty hit - Puck Daddy - NHL - Yahoo! Sports
• Via Bob McKenzie on Twitter, there will be no supplemental discipline for the Erik Cole(notes) hit on Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings last night . From McKenzie: "As for Cole-Doughty, NHL apparently believes contact was accidental/incidental so no discipline will be forthcoming." [McKenzie; more from FanHouse]
Okay, that's confirmation enough for me. Carry on...]
But for the sake of argument,let's look at the hit from the point of view of "incidental contact."
- When we join the video, pay attention to Cole. Draw a mental arrow from Cole's head to Drew Doughty, since he is tracking Doughty the entire time. (on the video clock: 0:18-0:21)
- At 0:22 (and the same moment in the close-up at 0:24), note that Cole digs in, turning into Doughty. Doughty is not looking and he hasn't had the puck for about two seconds.
- At 0:26 on the video clock, watch Cole's feet before contact. See him leave his feet? Propelling himself into Doughty?
- To sum up: Cole (1) targeted an unsuspecting player, (2) in a vulnerable position, (3) who didn't have the puck, (4) and left his feet (5) to deliver a blide-side shot to the head, causing (6) a head injury.
If it's incidental contact, you don't turn into the player and you certainly don't leave your feet before contact. There isn't even room for debate. Incidental means that the contact was an unintended consequence of Cole's action, which was -- what -- to act on the desire to cut hard to the right and launch himself into the air into the empty space that just happened to be coincidentally occupied by the very player he had been eyeballing the last 15 seconds, yet somehow didn't see?
Probably it was his intention to join the rush by leaping down the ice in two-footed jumps, like a rabbit.