Marian Hossa’s Hit on Dan Hamhuis vs. Alexander Ovechkin’s on Brian Campbell

A great deal is being made about Marian Hossa’s hit on Nashville’s Dan Hamhuis from late in the third period of Sunday’s epic Game Five victory for the Blackhawks. For the hit, Hossa received a five-minute boarding penalty, which encompassed the final 1:03 of regulation and subsequently the first 3:57 of the overtime period.

Many fans (not this one), analysts (Pierre McGuire), and coaches (Barry Trotz) are comparing the Hossa hit to the one Alexander Ovechkin put on Chicago’s Brian Campbell in mid-March. The emphasis from most complaints is that, if Ovechkin was suspended for two games for his hit on Campbell, shouldn’t Hossa be suspended for hitting Hamhuis?

There are a number of crucial differences that make the hits of Hossa and Ovechkin overwhelmingly different. First, let’s evaluate the evidence.

First, the Ovechkin hit on Campbell:

Next, the Hossa hit on Hamhuis:

Intially, it appears that these are two relatively similar hits. In fact, considering at face value that Ovechkin received a game misconduct for his hit on Campbell, it might become easy to question whether or not Hossa was underpenalized. However, that consideration is not only invalid, but laughable.

Let’s begin our argument by stating the elephant in the room: Ovechkin was a repeat offender. He had been called for an ugly boarding penalty earier in the 2009-10 season, and had been suspended already this season for a knee-to-knee hit. Contrary to that track record, Hossa’s resume has had many Chicago fans begging for him to be more physical. He’s had a few big hits in this series, but the rest of the season hasn’t seen a lot of heavy contact from Hossa.

 The reality that Ovechkin was a repeat offender must be part of any discussion about these two penalties.

Secondly, let’s look at the points of contact. First, Ovechkin on Campbell:

As you can see here, Ovechkin’s arms are making contact with the back of Campbell. His arm is nearly touching the “5” on the back of Campbell’s jersey.

Now, let’s look at the point of contact for Hossa on Hamhuis from Saturday:

Clearly in this still frame you can see that Hossa is making contact with Hamhuis in the side-armpit region.

These stills make very clear that the points of contact from Ovechkin and Hossa were different; Ovechkin hit Campbell in the back, while Hossa made contact with Hamhuis from the side.

Now, let’s evaluate perhaps the most critical part of the evidence: the relation of the player being hit to the puck.

First, let’s look at where the puck is in relation to Campbell in March.

Next, let’s look at where the puck is in relation to Hamhuis on Saturday.

On Saturday, Hamhuis was pursuing the puck towards the boards in the final moments of a tight game; Chicago had already pulled their netminder at this point and were skating six. If Hamhuis didn’t know contact was coming, he doesn’t deserve to be in the NHL. In March, though, we can clearly see that Campbell had already dumped the puck into the corner and was beginning a meaningless circle of the net when Ovechkin shoved him into the boards.

With these two stills, again, we can clearly see that the hits are nowhere similar.

Finally, let’s evaluate the end result of the hits. Ovechkin knocked Campbell out for almost six weeks with a broken collarbone and rib. Hossa’s hit ended Hamhuis’ afternoon, but has not reportedly caused significant injury to the Predators defenseman.

So we’ve established that Hossa’s hit was A) not in the back, B) on a player who was playing the puck, and C) did not seriously injure the player. Based on those criteria, and with the perspective that Hossa is not a repeat offender, there is no legitimate reason for the NHL to suspend Hossa from Game Six.

8 thoughts on “Marian Hossa’s Hit on Dan Hamhuis vs. Alexander Ovechkin’s on Brian Campbell

  1. Not sure why people are so quick to compare Hossa’s hit to Ovi’s when we have Kopecky’s boarding call from this series to compare it to. I think those are much more similar. What weren’t people calling for a suspension for Kopecky but are for Hossa? Never heard a peep from anyone when Kopecky only got 2 for his hit.

  2. Look at the coil and strike in Ovechkin’s hit. He put his entire body and momentum into Brian Cambpell’s rib and clavicle. Premeditation from a proven dirty bastard.

    Hossa’s was from the side, more like a desperation shove.

    Either way, Hawks win the game and #81 is in the lineup tomorrow night.

  3. The argument is debatable at best, and that debate really doesn’t hold much water.

    Also Hossa doesn’t have a full head of steam coming into the hit as he was playing the puck in front of the net prior to the hit.

    I usually don’t agree with Pierre McGuire very often- but he makes a very vaild point at the end the hossa clip seen here. This is a reason the trapeziod should be removed from the ice surface.

    I’ve been a hockey fan and a blackhawk fan too for nearly 30 years. You DID NOT see hits to this degree overall in this league ‘back in the day’ in that area, because the goalie would come out and play the puck as Pierre mentioned. Add the enforcer debbate as well, etc…

    The trapezoid is fine for minor leaguers and below- to learn to come in and play the board area to chase for loose pucks.

    But in the NHL where the game is a faster tempo and higher paced with guys that skate hard and very very fast, its leading to dangerous situations.

    If anything- remove the trapezoid, give the goalie a delay of game if he covers it up in the corner areas. Force the goalie to make a play to keep the game clock alive.

    The league needs to do something to where people don’t have to run others into the boards, simply because the goalie is not allowed to make a play in that area.

    Glad to see Campbell is back, though probably not 100% yet. Glad to see Hossa was not suspended and Hamhuis not out on a stretcher either.


  4. Agree with you one hundred percent. Pierre you know your stuff. Good call to shut people up who think suspension was necessary.

  5. I’m glad to see this post. I live in the DC area and the Caps fans that I have spoken to (who really know hockey) agree that the Ovie hit was very different from the Hossa hit – based on the position of the puck and the location of the contact on the player’s body. I didn’t like to see the Hossa hit and glad that Hamhuis was ok. In my opinion the right calls were made: 5 minutes, no suspension, no misconduct.

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