Fraser: Breaking down the Hansen-Hossa incident

Kerry Fraser
2/20/2013 1:20:12 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,
I'm sure you're going to be swamped with e-mails concerning the Jannik Hansen-Marian Hossa incident and I would be interested in knowing your take regarding the hit. But, my main question is regarding the two-minute penalty handed to Hansen after the play ended. Neither referee had his hand up for a penalty and play continued until Chicago regained the puck. (Jonathan) Toews then went after Hansen but a linesman got in the way before gloves could be dropped. I did pick out a punch that Hansen threw, was this where he got the penalty or was it for the hit on Hossa?
Gareth Evans
Richmond, BC


I do not believe that there was any deliberate or malicious intent on the part of Jannik Hansen to hit Marian Hossa in the head as both players went up for an airborne puck that had been flipped out of the Hawks zone by Jonathan Toews. The resulting contact to the back of Hossa's head was not worthy of anything beyond the minor penalty for roughing that was eventually assessed by the referees; albeit well after play was whistled dead for the Hossa injury. 

Both Hansen and Hossa reacted to the approaching puck similar to a jump ball on the Bulls' homecourt in the United Center. Both players went up for the puck and in doing so, Hossa slid his body position to the right while  Hansen moved to the left. Their focus and intent was gaining puck possession. 

The movement of both players put them on a collision course as Hossa had the lead lane and the advantage to contact the puck first. From the back side position, Hansen would have to extend his reach over and past Hossa if he were to be successful in playing the puck. In real time and from a deficient position, Hansen's follow-through contacted the back of Hossa's head as both players moved toward one another and reached for the puck.

The roughing penalty (while justified) was arrived at after the fact because of some residual sensitivity surrounding a missed Raffi Torres headshot on Hossa last year in the playoffs which resulted in a 25-game suspension.

With Hossa laying in almost the same spot on the ice, it was imperative that the officials put their heads together to determine how 'Hoss' got there. The correct call was made on the ice.
In the end, I'm surprised that Hansen received a one-game suspension on this play. I have seen far worse hits that have gone unpunished this season.

Marian Hossa (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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