Late in the second period of the Blue Jackets’ 4-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday, Dubinsky received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for interference for an open-ice hit on Ducks forward Saku Koivu, who left the game and did not return.
However, the NHL will not have a hearing with Dubinsky over the hit, meaning there won’t be any supplementary discipline handed out.
Here’s a look at the hit.
Koivu had just made a pass to a teammate on the boards when Dubinsky came across and got him with the referees deemed to be a high hit. There are a few things to consider with what we’re seeing here.
- It doesn’t look like Dubinsky makes contact with Koivu’s head. While Dubinsky’s elbow may have been a bit on the high side, it looks like contact is made on Koivu’s shoulder instead of the head.
- Dubinsky doesn’t leave his feet to throw the hit. There’s no forward or jumping motion from Dubinsky as he approaches Koivu. While one foot does leave the ice, it comes from the momentum created by the hit rather than an intentional motion.
- Dubinsky doesn’t charge at Koivu. As it shows in the video, Dubinsky is defending the play in his own zone when he glides over and takes the half-stride into Koivu. As charging is defined as taking three or more strides before hitting a player, the hit doesn’t qualify.
- The hit isn’t from behind or coming from Koivu’s blind side. The hits from behind or the blind side are the ones the NHL is trying to get out of the game. In Dubinsky’s case, he comes in at Koivu relatively square compared to the hits where players have been suspended.
With the above factors in mind, I think Brendan Shanahan and the Department of Player Safety made the right decision in not suspending Dubinsky here. They likely felt the game misconduct was sufficient punishment, and I’d have to agree with them. I don’t see a headshot, and I don’t see intent to injure. I see a potentially high elbow, but again, it doesn’t look like it catches the head, so the major and game misconduct should be enough.