Chicago Blackhawks forward Brett Connolly will likely be suspended after laying out Dallas Stars’ forward Tanner Kero on Saturday. It’s not clear for how long, but Connolly will have a hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety after receiving a five-minute major for interference and a game misconduct as a result of an interference penalty that wound up seeing Kero stretchered off the ice.
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The hit is getting a ton of reaction on Sunday. Many fans are calling the hit disgusting, saying it was clear Connolly knew Kero was not going to touch the puck. Others are suggesting Connolly misread the play and thought Kero would have the puck, but it didn’t work out that way. No one seems to be disputing the hit was bad or that Connolly shouldn’t receive supplemental discipline, but there is some debate as to how bad the play was.
The severity of any injury to Kero could play a big factor when it comes to what the NHL DoPS decides to do here. It did not look good and that Connolly leveled a defenseless player won’t help. That said, Connolly has no history with Player Safety.
Updates on Kero Are Positive
The Stars did provide an encouraging update in the first period of Saturday’s game: “Tanner Kero is conscious, alert and responsive. He’ll be transported to the hospital for precautionary measures and evaluation.” An emotional Joe Pavelski spoke after the contest and noted that he knows what it feels like as he had a similar hit happen to him while he played in San Jose. He too said the news coming back about Kero was positive, but the team was waiting for further updates.
Blackhawks interim head coach Derek King said Connolly was still “shaken up” about the play after the game. The word is that Connolly immediately knew that things had gone badly and wasn’t intending to hurt anyone. It’s especially troubling considering that teammate Jujhar Khaira was laid out by a hit could a few games earlier.
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