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Dallas Stars defenceman Jason Demers found himself ejected from a 6-5 loss against the New York Islanders on Sunday. In the second period, Islander Cal Clutterbuck was leaned awkwardly against the boards after trying to dump the puck in the corner. Demers skated toward him, left another Islander who he was guarding, and finished a late hit. The call on the ice was a 5 minute boarding major and an automatic and misconduct.
For me the call on the ice was correct. This was a needless hit both hockey wise and safety wise. The puck was already gone and Demers actually skated away from another New York player to go out of his way to make the hit. Clutterbuck was in such a position that there was absolutely no way to avoid contact with the head. That’s technically true for the open ice hits I argue aren’t suspension worthy, but the difference is Clutterberg does not voluntarily put himself in this position and shouldn’t expect to be hit at that moment. This is reason enough not to hit the guy. What’s worse is he was down so low that Demers couldn’t hit him without putting himself at serious risk. He was unable to control himself after impact based solely on the position of Clutterbuck’s body.
It was definitely a high hit with easily foreseen extreme head contact and he’s lucky he did throw a high hit because there was nothing to stop Demers from going into the boards himself. He had to put his hands up to avoid catapulting face first into the boards. That’s also partly why his feet left the ice. He hit Clutterbuck’s body with his legs first so they stopped, and his upper body kept going forcefully. That also demonstrates the force put into the hit.
It was dumb in every respect and should get at least 5 games for being a late, avoidable hit to the head with no control, and nothing to do with the play.