NHL

Fraser: Why Marchand didn't get discipline for hit to Emelin

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Kerry Fraser
2/16/2012 7:15:00 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!

Any idea why Brad Marchand does not at least get a phone call from Shanahan for his low hit on Emelin? It was very similar to the hit on Salo that got him suspended for five games, except that Emelin finished the game. Injury should not factor into what is a suspension and what is not
 
Brad Greul
 
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Hi there Mr. Fraser,

I'd like help on Marchand. He got the two minutes for clipping Emelin. That's okay, but what up with suspending him and fining him for the same hits he has previously done.  I don't get it.  He was going in for a hit not to defend a hit, I think!  Then he low bridges him!

Vic

Brad and Vic:

While Brendan Shanahan did in fact speak to Brad Marchand about the incident, I am somewhat confused by the lack of supplemental discipline on this play. I agree with Brad Greul to the extent that I believe any resulting injury should only factor into increasing a suspension and not determine if one was deserved. The act is what should be ruled upon and a minimum standard set so that players understand the risk involved when they commit illegal and dangerous plays.

Brad Marchand was suspended for five games for his low-bridge hit on Sami Salo that resulted in a concussion after the Vancouver Canuck defenceman landed on his head. Since Brendan Shanahan mentioned the Salo injury in his video ruling, we can only assume it was factored into the suspension to arrive at the magic number. It would be reasonable to assume the clip was worth two or three games and the resulting injury upped the formula to five even though Marchand maintained the point of contact was not to Sami Salo's knee area.

Following the five-game suspension, Brad Marchand was interviewed by ESPN Boston and asked a couple of loaded questions. Brad Marchand's responses to some of those questions are quite interesting.

Marchand's defense in hitting Sami Salo low was that he is a small guy that plays low to the ice and that is how he protects himself (In both of these low hits there was no menacing or aggressive demeanor presented by Salo or Alexei Emelin that should cause Marchand to feel threatened. The aggressor in each case was Brad Marchand when he delivered the low point of contact hits).

When asked if the suspension left him more confused down the road as to whether he could make this type of play in the future Brad said, 'I guess it's clear that I'm not allowed to do that and guys in the league are not allowed to do that.'

When questioned if he felt there was a double- standard as far as discipline went on hits like this (hits that happened previously without suspension or those that might occur in the future), Brad Marchand offered his future expectations on how they should be dealt with; 'I expect if there are any more hits like this [his on Sami Salo] I expect they will be penalized the same way. If not, there will be a double-standard."

Is there a double-standard here or just exemption from double-jeopardy under the repeat offenders act?

I do not like hits where players drop down below the waist of players on a frontal attack hit. The difference between a blown out knee and a bad charley-horse is a matter of inches. A hip check, when timed perfectly, is an art and a thing of beauty - not a last second drop where contact results somewhere between the knee and below the hip if the player is lucky!

Setting my opinion aside, the rule on clipping states the knee is the reference point when determining a violation of this rule.

Rule 44 -- "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, or 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 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."

Brad Marchand's legitimate line of defense on this hit is that he did not hit Alexei Emelin across or below the knees as per the clipping rule. Emelin elevated his posture (skates slightly off the ice) just prior to impact. The point of contact from Brad Marchand's lowered hip was between the knee and waist of Emelin to the thigh.

While I don't agree with Brad Marchand's ongoing method of self defence by dropping low and below the waist of his opponent, I have to concur that under the definition of the clipping rule it would be hard to suspend Brad Marchand in this case.

The sad truth, however, is if an injury had resulted to Alexei Emelin (as it did to Sami Salo), Brad Marchand's expectations would have been met and a double-standard would not apply. He would have been suspended.

Brad Marchand (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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