What’s the Fouss? The Malkin Hit Versus the Shattenkirk Hit: What’s the Difference?

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As most hockey fans already know, the NHL is very inconsistent with suspensions.  Over the last couple of weeks, the inconsistencies with player punishment around the league continue to show.

Let’s look at two recent hits that are similar.  One of these hits did not result in a suspension.  The other hit resulted in a 2-game suspension.

EVGENI MALKIN HIT ON BLAKE WHEELER

On February 16, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin delivered a shoulder hit to the head of Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler.  Here is the video of the hit:

Here are some still photos of the initial contact:

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As the video replay and photo stills clearly show, Malkin’s shoulder comes into contact with Wheeler’s head.  Malkin also elevates himself slightly into the air when he delivers this check.  Malkin was given a 2-minute penalty for interference with the hit on Wheeler, but he did not receive any discipline from the NHL Department of Player Safety.

While some might argue that Wheeler was leaning forward and in a vulnerable position, Malkin had plenty of time to pull up and adjust his timing to prevent the check completely.

KEVIN SHATTENKIRK HIT ON KEVIN GRAVEL

On March 11, Washington Capitals defenseman delivered a shoulder hit to the head of Los Angeles Kings defenseman Kevin Gravel.  Here is the video of the hit:

Here are some still photos of the initial contact:

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As the video replay and photo stills clearly show, Shattenkirk launches himself into the air and his shoulder comes into contact with Gravel’s head.  Shattenkirk was given a 2-minute minor for charging on this play.  Shattenkirk was handed a 2-game suspension by the NHL Department of Player Safety for this check to the head.

Shattenkirk could have received a harsher punishment during the game.  He could have also received 2 minutes for interference with this hit, as Kevin Gravel had gotten rid of the puck off his stick a couple of seconds before Shattenkirk checked him.

THE HITS MUST BE IDENTICAL, RIGHT?

I believe that a check to the head is a check to the head.  It does not matter the body part used to deliver the blow.  If contact is made to a player’s head, the NHL must take anything into consideration.

If a player’s skates leave the ice when delivering a hit, it is charging.  If a player checks another player that does not have the puck on his stick, it is interference.

Shattenkirk and Malkin are both lucky that they did not receive major penalties in their games.  Both players could have easily received game misconducts for these hits too.

WHERE IS THE CONSISTENCY?

Beginning with Shattenkirk, I feel the NHL properly addressed this hit with the suspension.  It was a bonehead move on his part, and he was a bit reckless with this play.  There was no need for him to launch himself into the air to deliver a check to the head.  I have no issue with the NHL handing out a suspension for this hit.

With Malkin, he clearly delivered a check to Wheeler’s head, and it was probably a check that could have been avoided.  Malkin’s skates even lifted off the ice a bit as he delivered this check.  How does Malkin escape with no punishment?

While Shattenkirk’s hit was probably more violent, both hits were hits that did not need to be made.  Both hits were checks to the head.  How does one hit receive punishment, and the other goes unpunished?

If the NHL truly cares about player safety, all checks to the head should be punishable.  If the NHL wants to set a universal example, all of these similar hits should receive similar punishment.  These 2 hits were virtually identical, but the only things that were different were the players that were involved in them.

The NHL needs to continue to crack down on blatant headshots and other dirty shenanigans that go on around the league.  If the NHL can find more consistency with suspensions, these types of hits may not occur as often.

By: George Foussekis

About George Foussekis

I am a sports fanatic. I love hockey and football, and I enjoy writing about my two favorite sports. I am a proud Old Dominion University alum.
This entry was posted in Injuries, News, NHL, Players and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What’s the Fouss? The Malkin Hit Versus the Shattenkirk Hit: What’s the Difference?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Its the Penguins. They get away with everything

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Anonymous says:

    Pitt is the darling of the nhl. They never discipline them…

    Liked by 1 person

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