The Montreal Canadiens won a second straight game on Friday afternoon, taking down the Chicago Blackhawks in a shootout. The degree of difficulty was perhaps a little higher than expected, and the game was also not without casualties. In the third period, Jason Dickinson landed a high hit on Juraj Slafkovsky that sent the latter to the dressing room.
There was no call on the ice, and now it is up to the league to decide if they’ll step in.
Headshot. No call.— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) November 25, 2022
Whatever Xhekaj does now is on you, refs. pic.twitter.com/DR60aiegRJ
It must be acknowledged that Slafkovsky is putting himself in a vulnerable position here in lunging for that loose puck. It isn’t a new thing for him, and definitely something that he should look to avoid doing in the future. That being said, head contact isn’t on the player in the vulnerable position to avoid, it’s on the player delivering the hit.
If you slow it down on the angle from behind the glass, you can see that there is primary contact with Slafkovsky’s chin. Dickinson drives up with his shoulder rather than through, which exacerbates the force of the contact. Add in an injury on the play, and I can’t see how the department of player safety would justify not handing out at least a fine for the hit.
The on-ice officials predictably let it go, what with Montreal leading the game and their penchant for “game management” taking over. For the league to double down on that decision would suggest that the onus was on Slafkovsky to avoid the head contact, which is a dangerous precedent to set.
Quick research tells me Dickinson has no history, so a suspension might be hard to call for here. I think, at least, a fine sends a message to everyone that you have to make an effort to avoid head contact.
No word yet on Slafkovsky’s condition, but with three days off for the Habs, it is likely they’ll evaluate him before releasing any information.
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