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Jets' Bowness, Ducks' Cronin disagree on if Strome deserves suspension for Connor hit


The Winnipeg Jets and Anaheim Ducks are at odds over whether Ryan Strome deserves a suspension for his knee-on-knee hit on Jets winger Kyle Connor on Sunday.

Strome's knee collided with that of Connor's just after the Jets star fired a backhand shot while cutting across the ice in the second period. Strome, who fought Jets centre Mark Scheifele in the ensuing moments, was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the hit. Connor was injured on the play and did not return as Winnipeg picked up a 4-2 victory.

“It’s knee on knee. He sticks his knee out. There’s no other way of looking at it,”  Jets head coach Rick Bowness said after the win. “You hope it’s suspendable. But the refs made the right call - a five-minute major, a game misconduct and we’ll see where it goes from there.”

UPDATE: The league's department had not announced a hearing for Strome as of 2pm ET on Monday, signaling he is unlikely to face further discipline for the hit.

Ducks head coach Greg Cronin said there was no intent from Strome to injure Connor, arguing the Ducks forward was looking to deliver a shoulder-to-shoulder hit when their legs collided. 

“You watch the replay. I even questioned that it was a five-minute [penalty]. I guess there’s an automatic if the guys click their knees together,” Cronin said, per The Athletic. “He goes in, and he tries to hit him with a shoulder check. I feel bad. He’s a heck of a player. Nobody wants to lose a star player like Connor.

“When [referee] Kyle [Rehman] came over, I said, ‘Why is it a five? There was no intent there.’ Literally, if you watch his shoulder, he turns his shoulder into Connor. And it’s just they hit knees.”

Connor appeared to struggle putting weight on his knee and went straight down the tunnel after leaving the ice. He had three shots on goal in 7:56 of action before departing.

The 27-year-old has 17 goals and 28 points in 26 games this season, leading the Jets in both categories. 

Strome, 30, has three goals and 17 points in 26 games this season, his second with the Ducks.