Top defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was shoved while in a vulnerable position by Dwight King last night. Pietrangelo fell forward and struck his head hard against the boards. He got up and played one more shift before leaving the game for good.
A concussion seems likely, although the Blues aren't divulging much information. Here's the play:
The NHL released a statement on the refs' decision to go with a minor instead of a major:
Their judgment of the degree of violence ... they deemed it a minor penalty and that's why they called it a minor. It's their judgment. They see the whole play unfold and they didn't deem in this instance obviously that King drove [Pietrangelo] into the boards. It was a hit, he was in a vulnerable position, but they didn't deem it violent enough to call a major."
The refs missed the cut on his chin. But the key to their explanation is that they didn't think their was enough violent force. Walkom, the former head of officiating, was also the referee presiding over the Clowe incident as well as Torres' hit on Hossa.
This morning, Rich Hammond reports that the team doesn't expect supplemental discipline.
Reporters with league sources can help us get a feel for the NHL's viewpoint. Here's what Bob McKenzie wrote after the game:
Dwight King got a two-minute minor for the hit, but Pietrangelo tried to lobby for more. I'm sure the NHL will break down the video to determine whether it's an illegal play worthy of supplementary discipline. They'll look at all sorts of aspects: did Pietrangelo turn at the last second, was it strictly a push and is it worth looking at and pursuing beyond this?
It sounds to me like it's being viewed as recklessness rather than malice -- a "hockey play gone wrong" (a view I also share, with the caveat that I am of course a Kings fan).
Darren Dreger doubts anything is going to happen, though nothing's set in stone:
But the outcome, rather than the force of the shove or the intent, could be the key factor here. Pietrangelo may wind up playing the next game, or he may miss substantial time. The facts that Pietrangelo is a star player and Dwight King isn't exactly a household name have also given rise to speculation that King's not safe.
At the time of hit, I thought I wouldn't be surprised if he got at least a game. For now, we have to wait and see.
What's your take?