Well the NHL had a long hard look at an injurious hit and decided it wasn't egregious enough to suspend a player. Im not sure what is worse, the fact there is no suspension or the fact the official didn't think it was a boarding penalty.
This had all the factors the Department of Player Safety take into account
- incredibly late
- defensless player
- from behind
- Full extension of the arms
- cause injury - player did not return
AND YET this is all they could say
Niederreiter will not be punished by the league for his shove on Olli Maatta Tuesday night. Source says NHL reviewed it "long and hard."— Dave Molinari (@MolinariPG) November 18, 2015
So I don't know what to think, they started the year off great, but it looks as though the Department of Player Safety, when push comes to shove, does not have the balls to change what is happening out of the ice.
I don't even want to throw the book at him, it's a 7 game suspension, that is not even as long as the amount of games Maatta is going to miss, this is not about an 'eye for an eye', it is about putting a framework in place where players understand what 'safety' means.
It's pretty obvious to any fan who is not involved in this game that the hit was at least a 2 minute minor, so I think the official who missed that, should well sit for a bit and learn, just like the players have to. I know it wont happen, but well, you can hope.
This is the same kind of play that had Kris Letang out for the final stretch of the season last year, it's a play that should be called as interference but you 'gotta finish your check', no you don't not when the puck is not around.
Niederreiter even said it himself, I pushed him, he did not say 'in the back' because that would have been stupid. If the player can admit he pushed Maatta who was in a vulnerable position and the DoPS still cannot bring itself to suspend a player for this kind of hit, it is going to get worse as the year goes along. You want to know why? As the games become more 'meaningful' the ex-NHL players are not going to want to punish players as they head to the playoffs.
Thanks for reading.