After taking a big hit and landing face-first on the ice, Joe Pavelski is questionable for Game 2 versus the Minnesota Wild. A late hit by the Wild defenseman on Pavelski was immediately given a 5-minute major, then reviewed by officials a changed to only a two-minute minor penalty for roughing. Pavelski left the game, barely able to skate under his own power, and did not return.
As per a report by ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski: “News: @NHLPlayerSafety will NOT have a hearing for @mnwild defenseman Matt Dumba after his hit took @DallasStars center Joe Pavelski out of Game 1 last night. Source tells me it was considered “close to being late, but within allowable window.” Dumba was given a roughing minor.”
The reaction to the play has been almost universally viewed as disgusting. Clearly a late hit and interference, fans are floored by the fact the NHL ruled this wasn’t a hit to the head. While it’s likely most of the damage to Pavelski came when his head hit the ice, the puck was long gone when Dumba took a run at an unsuspecting Pavelski. Saad Yousuf of The Athletic tweeted, “If Matt Dumba’s hit on Joe Pavelski was legal, by rule, it’s time to change the rulebook. What’s indisputable: Dumba’s hit was late, it was vicious and it was completely unnecessary.”
Others saw the hit as within the rules. Matt Larkin of Daily Faceoff writes, “It wasn’t a charge. Remember, when assessing whether a player leaves his feet, you have to watch his skates before the contract. Dumba’s feet stayed on the ice up to the moment of impact. If the skates launch up as a result of the contact? That’s legal.” He also argued it was a shoulder-to-shoulder hit. So too, because the hit occurred between 0.5 and 0.6 seconds of the opponent playing the puck, the NHL deemed that everything took place inside an acceptable window.
Does Dumba’s Reaction Play Into It?
The fact that Dumba reacted the way he did to the hit has people upset too. Whether deemed a major or not, he showed little to no concern for the well-being of the person he laid out. In fact, he didn’t even look back at a possibly concussed player laying on the ice and then laughed in the penalty box.
After the game, Dumba said, “To be honest, I thought it was a clean hit. I figured (the refs) were going to see the same. Shoulder on shoulder,” Dumba said. “I don’t even know why I got the roughing, probably because I was just in the box already.”
While Dumba’s reaction won’t change the NHL’s mind, you can bet the Dallas Stars will remember.
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