Our subject this time around is John Zeiler of the Los Angeles Kings. During Saturday's game against Colorado, Zeiler attempted to decapitate veteran Avs defenseman Adam Foote, sending him head-first into the boards while the two were chasing a loose puck in the Colorado zone.
While the hit set off a brief but rather intense melee between the two teams, and it also caused Foote to miss the rest of the game (by the way, we still don't know how long Foote could be out.), that's not the point here.
We have reached the stage where the NHL needs to do something. While the hit by Doug Weight on Brandon Sutter may have been clean (according to the letter of the law, so to speak), this was most certainly not. Foote was facing the boards the whole way, and Zeiler followed him, hit him hard from behind, and drove him into the boards.
Video and discussion of a possible suspension after the jump.
Video comes courtesy of HockeyFights.com, as they chronicled the post-hit scrap.
I'm not even sure I can concoct an argument against suspending Zeiler for at least three games, but that doesn't mean the league won't think of one. After all, they thought of one so they wouldn't have to suspend Darcy Tucker for his low hit on Nick Schultz.
Of all people, Ian Laperriere served as a voice of reason on this hit.
"There's hits and there's stupid hits. And it's up to us players to police ourselves, to take those players out of the game, before someone gets killed or paralyzed."He's right. Where does the NHL draw the line?
We're all well aware of the tendency of pro sports leagues to go too far in protecting certain players from harm (Hi, NFL quarterbacks!), yet the NHL is still randomly punishing players for dangerous, illegal hits? How has this been allowed to go on so long?
Even though I know the NHL is terribly unpredictable on these things, I'll stick with the three games I mentioned above. Zeiler deserves more in my opinion, because there is no place in our game for that kind of hit. But I don't trust the NHL to do the right thing on illegal hits anytime soon.
Leave your best guess in the comments.