Video: Evgeni Malkin, Ben Eager With Questionable Hits
Penguins center Evgeni Malkin added to his league-leading point total on Friday night, picking up a goal and an assist in Pittsburgh's 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. He was also at the center of some controversy late in the third period when he dished out this hit on Kings forward Wayne Simmonds.
The discussion of whether or not he should take a league-mandated vacation courtesy of the league's discipline czar, Colin Campbell, instantly began around the hockey blogosphere.
I've watched the hit about 50 times by now, and quite honestly, I don't think there's anything worthy of a suspension. Personally, I think he's bracing for a potential hit from Simmonds, who then decides to lead in with his head down. Malkin was not penalized on the play.
Meanwhile, out in Chicago, Blackhawks forward Ben Eager started some controversy of his own with this hit on an unsuspecting Liam Reddox.
One of the big issues here is how late the hit was after Reddox moved the puck. Like Malkin, he was not penalized on the play. That said, both hits are probably on Campbell's desk right now, ready to be reviewed for possible disciplinary action.
Should there be?
If I had to guess, I'd say Eager is the most likely to face the long arm of the law, but that in the end neither player will be taking any time off. Then again, it's impossible to know for sure, seeing as how the league seems to randomly pick its punishments out of a hat. Beyond that, the NHL seems more concerned about players making sex jokes than players potentially being injured by hits to the head.