NHL

Fraser: My take on Johnny Boychuk's hit on Mason Raymond

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Kerry Fraser
6/14/2011 6:43:39 PM
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Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry Fraser wants to answer your emails at cmonref@tsn.ca!

Hi Kerry,

The hit on Mason Raymond has me scratching my head. From my vantage point (a chair in my living room and a PVR with slo-mo), the play was dangerously close to interference, as Raymond never touched the puck. I know that there was the potential of playing it, but both players skated past the puck. The non-call on the interference is somewhat palatable, but the non-call on a hit that was clearly designed to injure another player is unbelievable.

Boychuk must have known that Raymond was in a vulnerable position, yet not only didn't he let up, he gave Raymond a hard shot. Obviously we're unsure of the injury, but that could very easily be a serious neck or back injury.

Is the league likely to consider further discipline even though no penalty was called?

Thanks,
Rick from Alberta

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Hey Ref!

I have a question about Mason Raymond's injury. The replays are pretty bad, but when I watch, it seems like at the last minute, Boychuk pushes Raymond into the boards. If Boychuk does push him (if), he takes a player in a vulnerable position, with the puck long gone, and takes advantage of the situation. Just because it isn't a head hit, should the play be reviewed by the NHL? What is the ruling on tangled up players going into the boards?

Kevin

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Hi Kerry, I'm confused over why Boychuk was not penalized for the Raymond hit.

1. He 'can-opened' him forcing him down with his stick between his legs and twisting, and

2. While he had him in the 'can-opener, shoves his head down and drives him into the boards. He had plenty of time to let up. That's not a clean hit 0.3 seconds too late, it's a dirty, dirty and deliberate intent to injure non-hockey play.

Can you please explain the rationale the league would have for this to not discipline Boychuk?

Sincerely,
Ross Casey from Victoria, BC

Rick, Kevin & Ross:

I feel sick for Mason Raymond. I shouted a big "Oh No" when I saw him bent over and go tailbone-first into the boards. In that moment, I felt that serious injury could result from the impact with the boards based on Raymond's body position combined with whatever degree of force (minimally or otherwise) was exerted by Johnny Boychuk. This was a minor penalty for interference as a result of the "fork hook" that turned Mason Raymond as he was about to play a puck that was passing by his feet.

We allow a defensive player to step up and make legal contact on an opponent that is about to receive the puck. In this case, the puck was within the acceptable range of Mason Raymond to allow for body contact from Boychuk.  The contact Boychuk employed however, involved a reach and tie-up with his stick, which could be called either interference or hooking and worthy of a minor penalty. 

This "fork hook" as I would term it, caused Mason Raymond's body to turn off balance (on one skate momentarily) and then lock/tangle up with Boychuk, who had leverage and solid balance on his skates. Their combined momentum (with Boychuk being in a greater position of power/motion) propelled Raymond in a continuation of his backward motion created from the hook and into the boards. 

When Mason Raymond was fully turned from the hook and balanced once again on two skates in a bent over position, it appears as though impact with the boards was perhaps five feet away. It doesn't take long to travel that distance. I did not see any evidence that Boychuk drove Raymond with any excessive or significant force other than what might be deemed normal on a finish of a play of this nature.

This is totally different from the play where Zdeno Chara rode Max Pacioretty along the rail and launched the Montreal player upward with his elbow/forearm causing Pacioretty's head to contact the stanchion. The end result of both of these plays was most unfortunately the same fractured vertebrae to both Pacioretty and Raymond. In my judgment, the force exerted and the legality of each play differed immensely.

Boychuk should have received a minor penalty on the play and no suspension should result. I wish Mason Raymond a full and speedy recovery from his injury.  

Kesler and Higgins help Raymond (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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