In last night's game, Ryan Kesler went in low for a hit on Cal Clutterbuck, and wound up hitting Clutterbuck lower than is allowed. Kesler was assessed a minor penalty for clipping, and some feel the hit deserves a look from Sheriff Shanahan. The question, as always, is will the NHL Department of Player Safety Jokes actually take action, or will it just go on the list of dirty hits against Wild players that go unpunished?
How much money do you have to bet on this? However much it is, you may want to just go buy something pretty for your significant other. It would be a much safer way to spend that hard earned cash. As we do when questionable hits occur, we take a look at the hit, the rule, and pass judgement on if we feel the offender will be suspended.
Here we go.
The hit, courtesy of the venerable @CJZero:
Make the jump for the rule, and some thoughts.
The rule, courtesy of NHL.com:
Rule 44 - Clipping
44.1 Clipping - Clipping is the act of throwing the body, from any direction, across or below the knees of an opponent.
A player may not deliver a check in a "clipping" manner, nor lower his own body position to deliver a check on or below an opponent's knees.
An illegal "low hit" is a check that is delivered by a player or goalkeeper who may or may not have both skates on the ice, with his sole intent to check the opponent in the area of his knees. A player may not lower his body position to deliver a check to an opponent's knees.
44.2 Minor Penalty - A player who commits these fouls will be assessed a minor penalty for "clipping."
44.3 Major Penalty - If an injury occurs as a result of this "clipping" check, the player must be assessed a major penalty (see 44.5).
44.4 Match Penalty - The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a match penalty if, in his judgment, the player attempted to or deliberately injured his opponent by clipping.
44.5 Game Misconduct Penalty - A game misconduct penaltymust be assessed anytime a major penalty is applied for injuring an opponent by clipping.
44.6 Fines and Suspensions - There are no specified fines or suspensions for clipping, however, supplementary discipline can be applied by the Commissioner at his discretion (refer toRule 28).
What Happens Now?
I am putting the likelihood of this getting supplemental discipline at about 14.7%. It's a random number, so don't put much stock in it. At this point, I am convinced you can do whatever you want to a player in Iron Range Red and get away with it. Paranoia? Sure. But you can still be paranoid if they really are out to get you.
Kesler received only a minor penalty in the game. This is due to the fact that Clutterbuck was not injured on the play. The NHL rarely suspends players based solely on their actions. There almost always has to be an injury, and even then, it has to be so overt that if they don't suspend them it is going to wind up the lead story on Sports Center.
You all know what a joke the Department of Player Safety Jokes is. If you're banking on Ryan Kesler being suspended for a game with playoff implications against the Chicago Blackhawks... you're cracked. The hit was dirty, and in 99 cases out of 100, the player making that hit sits for at least a game.
Don't count on it this time.