Pierre McGuire over-estimates the power of chin-straps

Video: Pierre McGuire gets an anatomy lesson at World Juniors - Puck Daddy - NHL  - Yahoo! Sports
All of us have theories that we stubbornly cling to despite hard evidence to the contrary. Pour a few pints into yours truly, and you'll hear a well-crafted argument that it's actually the dog's head in the box at the end of "Se7en" rather than the accepted fact that it's Gwyneth Paltrow's. Oh, spoiler warning, by the way.

On Tuesday night, in Team Canada's 7-2 win over Czech Republic, Buffalo Sabres prospect Zack Kassian(notes) was given a 5-minute major and a match penalty for a shoulder to the chin of defenseman Petr Senkerik, who was stretchered off the ice. It was a head shot by IIHF standards that will earn him a 1-game suspension and possibly more.

Follow the link for the video of McGuire arguing that it was a hit to the chest and the guy wouldn't have been hurt if his helmet was on all snug. Here's my reaction to the Puck Daddy reaction to the other blogger's reaction to McGuire's reaction to the hit.

  • The chin-strap thing is just loopy.
  • Pierre McGuire is annoying when he stands between the benches and gives us essential, late-breaking news. But I really don't have an opinion whether he's an idiot in general, this particular incident aside. 
  • Like McGuire, my initial reaction -- watching the hit in real time and then looking at the replays they showed in the broadcast -- was that it was a clean hit.
  • Having looked at the hit several times in slo-mo (see the Puck Daddy link for video), it's clear that his shoulder makes contact with the guy's chin. 
  • The refs, looking right at the play, made no call on the ice. Probably it looked to them what it looked like to me. After the fact though (i.e. after the injury), they "inferred" a head-shot and assessed the penalty.
  • Kassian does not blind-side the guy. He's coming in at just about as "head-on" as you can.
  • He tucks his elbow in.
  • He doesn't leave his feet to make the hit. 
  • He stops striding long before the hit (i.e. not charging).
  • It's not a late hit. (actually, I didn't consider the lateness when I rewatched the video; I'm going off my original reaction there, so factor that in.) UPDATE: okay, it's questionably late. The player passes/loses control of the puck, a teammate redirects it to the boards and then the hit comes, all within about a second of real time, which of course looks like about two/three seconds in slo-mo. So if there's an offense to focus on, I would go with the lateness.
  • I don't know what Kassian is supposed to do there. Not check the guy? Duck down and "make sure" he doesn't catch any part of his head? Does Zdeno Chara have to crouch every time he checks someone? 
  • As far as the potential lateness of the hit, he's committed to the action; it all happens in a split second. Maaaybe he should have "aborted" the hit. But to me that looks like an intent to make a clean hit, delivering a hit that is in retrospect a fraction of a second mis-timed, and which is as a result reckless and dangerous. But most of that is Monday morning quarterbacking. In real time, if I were the ref, I would have made no call. It looked like hockey to me.

On to more important matters. In response to Puck Daddy's main point:

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