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Fraser: No malice involved by Hamilton on Stamkos injury

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Kerry Fraser
11/12/2013 2:01:43 PM
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Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at cmonref@tsn.ca!

Good Day Kerry,
 
I have been involved with hockey for 52 years. I grew up and continue to live in the town of Forest, Ontario. Your father used to coach the AAA midgets in Sarnia when I was a Juvenile hockey player in Forest. The midgets used to play in the Juvenile league. We had some great games back then. No one worried about getting hurt. It was a great time.

I also used to play hockey with Terry Gregson at the University of Western Ontario. He lived on the same floor in residence.

Enough of my rambling. If your schedule permits I would be interested in your thoughts on this.

I was sitting at the dinner table tonight having supper and watching the hockey highlights from the Boston/Tampa Bay game and witnessed the Steven Stamkos incident.

It was obvious from what I saw that Dougie Hamilton took out Stamkos's legs. The result is a broken keg. Was there a penalty? Should there have been one?
 
Thank you,
Allan J. Wilson
 
---

Hi Kerry, like your column.

I watched the Steven Stamkos injury play today - on the replay it looked like Dougie Hamilton gave him a quick shot to the back or quick cross-check causing Stamkos to propel uncontrolled into the goal post - possibly I'm wrong but it sure looked that way on the three replays I watched. The referee appeared to be in a very good position to see this but called no penalty. I'm curious if you saw it the same and since there no penalty but a serious injury might the league look at this or given the perceived or real bias towards the Bruins and a few other teams is this likely to go unpunished whether I am correct or not?
 
JB

Allan and JB:
Witnessing the snap of Steven Stamkos' tibia against the goal post brought an immediate sick feeling to my stomach no differently than watching Pat Peake, the Washington Capitals' first pick in the '91 Amateur Draft (14th overall), shatter his right heel in 14 places as he raced to negate an icing in a game on April 26, 1996 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Peake went airborne from just below the goal line after getting a nudge on the back of his skate from J.J. Daigneault. The tripping penalty I assessed to Daigneault on the play was of little consolation to the budding Caps star who was forced to retire from the game two years later following multiple surgeries at the tender age of 23.

We can only hope that Stamkos will recover fully from the surgery he underwent on Tuesday following what I deem to be an unfortunate accident as a result of minor body contact exerted by Bruins talented young defenceman Dougie Hamilton. The fact that Stamkos did not have the puck and the contact or "nudge" was initiated by Hamilton which caused Stamkos to lose his footing, a minor penalty could have been called for interference. The location and extent of contact however was very difficult to ascertain even with slow-motion replay so it would be almost impossible for the Ref to determine interference had been committed as both players went hard to the net.

With Hamilton jumping up on the play and racing toward the net Stamkos took the inside lane away with a solid back check. Hamilton is seen approaching from behind and makes a downward chop in an attempt to eliminate Stamkos' stick for a potential rebound. The two players were almost hip to hip as Stamkos applied the brakes and started to snow plough near the top of the goal crease. Hamilton nudged Stamkos on the hip or pushed off as the two players were in contact with one another causing the Lightning superstar to lose his footing and crash into the goal post.

The result was sickening for sure as Stamkos sustained a serious injury. Aside from Steven Stamkos, I would bet there isn't anyone that feels worse about the injury than Dougie Hamilton. There was no malicious intent or aggressive physical contact demonstrated by Hamilton on this play. Incidental contact and battles for position like this happen frequently throughout every game that can result in a loss of balance and fall to one or both players. I see this as one of those unfortunate times.

It was great to reconnect with you Allan but today's NHL is played at an unbelievably fast pace where injuries such as this do occur and we weren't susceptible to as young players. I am sure you have followed Steven Stamkos from his Junior "A" days with the Sarnia Sting and know what a truly great person he is beyond just his superstar status as a hockey player.

We wish Steven Stamkos the very best for a full and speedy recovery.

Lightning gather around Stamkos (Photo: Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
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