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Fraser: Answers for Jarret Stoll's hit on Cam Fowler

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Kerry Fraser
2/5/2013 12:47:44 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!

Kerry, can you discuss the Jarret Stoll hit on Cam Fowler in Saturday's Ducks/Kings game?
 
It looked like a myriad of penalties from a Ducks fan perspective - slash, slash, slight slewfoot and boarding. While Fowler attempts to stop, Stoll clearing grabs the jersey and uses his forearm to drive Fowler face first into the boards. The result is Cam was unable to leave the ice under his own power. In the replay, you can see one of the refs caught in the action and understandibly missed seeing the play.
 
Now a fight erupted on the ice that most likely took the attention of the remaining officials. I get that.
 
But why would the NHL not even have a hearing for a reckless play that led to serious injury and more importantly has led to suspension before? We're a small market team, so we don't get the huge public outcry markets like TO get, and then the resulting explanation. Can you shed some light onto the play?
 
Thank you,
Byron Turk

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Byron:

You have my full attention on the dangerous and reckless check/boarding (video link) that Jarret Stoll delivered on Cam Fowler.  I fully understand why Referee Brad Watson was unable to see this play as he turned away at the last second in an effort to avoid taking a direct hit himself. I also get why the other Officials missed the boarding incident since their attention diverted to the fight between Jordan Nolan and Bryan Allen on the opposite side of the ice and as Stoll continued to pursue Fowler from behind.

I am miffed however, as to why Jarret Stoll did not receive at least a two-game suspension for his poor decision to finish this check in a careless manner that resulted in injury to Cam Fowler given the unobstructed view that Brendan Shanahan and the Department of Player Safety had?

Following a game on Jan. 30, Colin McDonald of the NY Islanders received a two-game suspension for his careless decision to finish a check from behind on Pittsburgh defenceman Ben Lovejoy. While Lovejoy wasn't injured on the play, he was pushed from behind by McDonald face first into the end boards. Check out the play and the language that Brendan Shanahan appropriately used to arrive at this decision (video link) on NHL.com.

While every play is unique, I find similarities exist between McDonald's hit on Lovejoy and the one Jarret Stoll delivered on Cam Fowler. An obvious difference between the two plays is that Fowler was injured - Lovejoy was not.

Jarret Stoll had an unimpeded fore-check path from the Anaheim blue line as Cam Fowler retrieved the puck in the near corner and skated behind his net toward to opposite corner where Referee Watson was positioned. Stoll closed the gap of separation with speed as he pursued Fowler directly from behind. As Fowler approached the boards near the corner to where the Referee was standing he started to brake similarly to the way that Ben Lovejoy did prior to being hit into the boards from behind by McDonald.

Jarret Stoll, while looking at Fowler's numbers, grabbed the back of the Anaheim player's jersey in a pull-back motion of containment prior to delivering a check. It was at this point that Stoll made a very poor decision to apply upward pressure with his forearm to the back and neck of Cam Fowler to drive the Duck from behind and face first into the boards.

I would apply the same language to this careless hit by Jarret Stoll on Fowler that Brendan Shanahan utilized to describe Colin McDonald's two-game suspension with one unique exception; Cam Fowler sustained an injury on the play!

The "Freeway Series" in Southern California is heating up...

Jarret Stoll (Photo: Travis Golby/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Travis Golby/NHLI via Getty Images)
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