Well, I guess we’ll have to give another stick tap out to Brendan Shanahan and the fellows over at the Department of Player Safety. It appears they were watching Thursday night’s Bruins-Panthers match better than the refs were. We all saw Panthers forward Jesse Winchester come up and nail Bruins center Chris Kelly in the head with an elbow. Kelly was badly shaken up by the play, but did not leave the game. (That’s a stick tap in itself.) The refs missed it completely. Thankfully DoPS reviewed the hit and believed it earned a review and supplementary discipline.
Here is a replay of the hit provided by the NHL along with Shanahan’s reason for the suspension. (NHL)
The Department of Player Safety chose to suspend Winchester for three games. Winchester is not listed as a repeat offender by the terms set by the last collective bargaining agreement. Winchester has never had a suspension or faced the DoPS in his six years in the NHL. Did Winchester intend to make that shot? While he was trying to make an effort to put a little extra oomph into that hit, it’s likely Winchester was not making an attempt to injure Kelly. (They did play three seasons together for the Ottawa Senators.)
While the refs chose to ignore the hit on Kelly, the Bruins saw it and remembered it. Just after the hit, Gregory Campbell went out to engage Jesse Winchester. While it appeared that Winchester had the upper hand in that engagement, it took gumption by Campbell to take the fight to right in front of the Panthers’ bench. Shawn Thornton also dropped the gloves later that night. (It’s very thoughtful of the Merlot Men to share the workload amongst themselves.)
Winchester will end up forfeiting $9,230.76 due to the suspension. It is unlikely any form of appeal will occur on this hit.