Let’s start by looking back at a hit that cost Niklas Hjalmarsson two games to a suspension earlier this year. Of course the hit was against Jason Pominville of the Buffalo Sabres, and resulted in Pominville suffering a concussion.
I haven’t yet been able to find video of the hit Patric Hornqvist of the Nashville Predators put on Hjalmarsson on Saturday night in Nashville, but he approached the Hawks’ defenseman with speed from roughly 10 feet away and elevated his hands when making contact.
What are the differences? To me there are two:
- Pominville got hurt, Hjalmarsson didn’t. If Hjalmarsson had been hurt, or even just stayed down for a moment, Hornqvist may have received a game misconduct.
- Hornqvist attacked with intent; Hjalmarsson didn’t. Hjalmarsson hit Pominville hip-to-hip and finished his check, a hit that wasn’t well received by Pominville and resulting in an injury. On the other hand, Hornqvist had already run over Marty Turco on the night and later took a shot at Jassen Cullimore. He was trying to board Hjalmarsson, and everyone involved is fortunate that a serious injury did not occur.
If the NHL is serious about eliminating head shots from the game, which they have been throughout this season, Hornqvist will received a call on Sunday from the league office. This shot deserves the same two games Hjalmarsson, and a number of other players, have received for reckless actions on the ice.