Alexei Emelin of the Montreal Canadiens threw a massive hit on Detroit rookie All-Star Dylan Larkin, and took a 5 minute boarding penalty for his troubles.
On his way to the box, he had to partake in a fight with Justin Abdelkader and got cut open to boot. Not a 30 seconds Emelin would want to relive.
Was this a little harsh of a sentence for a thunderous check?
Watching it live in real time, my initial reaction to be honest was good clean hit. The only doubt I had was maybe that it was excessive force too close to the boards.
Larkin was streaking towards the puck, and Emelin times the hit nicely to impact just at the moment when Larkin would take possession. The grey area is that at this precise moment, Henrik Zetterberg pulls the puck away from Larkin, perhaps seeing that his mate was about to be eliminated from the play.
Emelin had already clearly committed to the hit, and couldn’t pull back at that moment. He believed Larkin was going to take the puck and Larkin took actions as if he intended to. Like I said, he timed it perfectly.
What it comes down to for me is, should Emelin have hit Larkin at all based on his proximity to the boards?
Overall, I understand the five minute major called in the moment. It was violent. There was an injury.
On the other hand, Larkin was eligible to be hit, and even if he wasn’t, it was a 2-5 minute penalty at most, and no supplemental discipline is needed.