Pettersson on Kotkaniemi incident: "It was an accident. We got tangled up. We both fell down. I got in an awkward position. It wasn't a dirty play or anything. He apologized afterwards, which shows good sportsmanship from him. It was unlucky for me and it is nothing to serious."— Adam Forsythe (@adamforsythe) January 4, 2019
The Montreal Canadiens started 2019 off with a 33-save Carey Price shutout, and a beautiful goal from Jonathan Drouin. However, the biggest storyline from the game was the injury to Canucks wunderkind Elias Pettersson, who left the game after an incident with the Canadiens’ Jesperi Kotkaniemi.
The two battled along the boards, where Pettersson gave Kotkaniemi a solid check which rattled the Finnish rookie. Kotkaniemi then hooked Pettersson around the waist to give him a retaliatory shot as Pettersson skated away, and then it all went sideways.
Pettersson stops up, in what looks like an attempt to throw a reverse hit at Kotkaniemi. At this point the officials should have already had a hand in the air for a hook from Kotkaniemi, but the play continued.
From there, Kotkaniemi avoids the contact with Pettersson’s torso, but his forward momentum carries him through, and during this Pettersson and Kotkaniemi’s legs become tangled up as they fall to the ice. Kotkaniemi had grabbed onto Pettersson during this, which also could have been a penalty in its own right, but the initial contact after the hook was initiated by Pettersson, not Kotkaniemi.
As the two rookies fell to the ice in an entangled mess, Pettersson’s leg bent behind him, causing the suspected injury, and forcing him out of the game. He was able to skate off under his own power which hopefully bodes well for a quick return.
No one likes seeing an exciting young player miss time due to an injury. As Pettersson left the ice, Kotkaniemi skated over from the bench to offer an apology and stick tap in a show of sportsmanship.
Kotkaniemi would go check on Pettersson as he left the ice as well. pic.twitter.com/PXAMS2mlw7— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) January 4, 2019
Despite what some people thought, head coach Travis Green and Brandon Sutter both called the incident an accident.
#Canucks Green didn’t have more details about Pettersson’s injury; said he won’t play Saturday but didn’t think he’ll be out too long.— John Lu (@JohnLuTSNMtl) January 4, 2019
Green said 1st instinct was being pissed off at #Habs Kotkaniemi and wondering if the play was dirty. After seeing replays he decided it wasn’t.
Lower body injury.— David J. Chao, MD (@ProFootballDoc) January 4, 2019
Looks worse than it will be.
By video, mild MCL vs mild high ankle sprain. https://t.co/C1Inw5ICL3
It was a play that should have resulted in a penalty on Kotkaniemi, but the part of the play that should have been penalized did not lead to the injury. He didn’t try to purposely injure Pettersson, and the Canucks as a whole seem to agree. This isn’t like Mike Matheson’s body slam on Pettersson earlier this year. It was an unfortunate accident, nothing more.
FWIW, I canvassed nearly a dozen hockey people from teams across the league tonight and the majority felt it was incidental contact. A few saw a penalty. No one thought there was any malicious intent. Personally I felt there should have been a penalty for hooking or interference https://t.co/K1dLz8VYX9— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) January 4, 2019
I’m told no supplemental discipline will be coming for Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Injury is not a factor for DOPS until after they determine a play is worthy of a suspension, and this play is not.— Eric Engels (@EricEngels) January 4, 2019