I can’t comment on Friday’s World Cup Pre-Tournament game between Canada and the United States because I wasn’t watching, but it was hard to escape the talk on Twitter about Ryan Kesler’s major for boarding against Montreal Canadiens acquisition Shea Weber.
After watching this video…
…it’s not surprising Kesler got a major.
I will say that both players did everything right for the most part.
Weber took a direct route to the puck, realized the race was close, and put himself in a protective posture. Knees bent for stability, back and head up, braced for inevitable impact. He’s done all he can to make it a safe and routine hockey play.
Kesler did a great job closing the gap and controlling Weber, taking a good angle of approach. He stopped striding, kept his hands down, and was in perfect position to steer the big Canadian defenseman safely into the boards.
Yet for some reason, it appears as though Kesler makes an upward thrusting motion with his arms on the follow through. This stops the momentum of Weber’s feet, and dramatically and suddenly increases the speed of motion of Weber’s upper torso and head. Instead of hitting the boards with his whole body at the same time at a controlled speed, his top half is forced to strike the wall first, and he is powerless to control the force of the impact.
The danger of this hit is 100% caused by the last second actions of Ryan Kesler. The major penalty is completely warranted.