Philadephia’s Brayden Schenn got a big piece of Tampa Bay’s Jonathan Drouin in November as the Lightning forward was releasing a shot. This came exactly two weeks after Nazem Kadri’s similar and extremely debated hit on Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin just as Sedin was shooting.
After scrutinizing both plays, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety ruled not to suspend either player. The reason in both cases is the traditional cop out that the head was not the principle point of contact on either play.
Instead of focusing on the person receiving the hit to study frame by frame what part of the body was or wasn’t demolished/grazed/avoided, I’d like to focus on the actual important part, which is the technique used by the hitters.
My original assessment of the Kadri hit asked for suspension because it was delivered from a poor angle, it was unnecesssarily high, and Kadri lunged upward and forward prior to and during impact (Kadri Avoids Suspension For Charge). He did everything possible to create the extreme likelihood of the head being contacted. You can argue all day about whether or not Kadri’s feet left the ice prior to impact or whether the shoulder or forearm hit the head, etc, but what you really need to realize is the man threw a high speed hit thrusting upward while on his tip toes. That’s simply not the right way to go about it.
The case in point stems from this more recent hit by Schenn.Look at his posture. Look at his angle of approach. Look at how he’s in full control even after impact.
As the video clearly shows, he actually gets back in a good defensive angle and meets Drouin almost front on. He keeps everything down and in, shoulders, arms, stick. Almost nothing even moves. He just skates low in a good hockey stance and beats Drouin to the space. He doesn’t lunge upward and outward into the hit, and he doesn’t even pretend to come close to leaving his feet. He’s certainly not on his tip toes. Schenn does nothing to create force here, and nothing to create danger. The only likelihood of the head being hit is caused by Drouin’s shooting posture.
Schenn rightly doesn’t deserve a suspension, and I think in comparing the two hits it plainly shows how bad Kadri’s really was.