Blackhawks News

Toews Hit Should Be Reviewed by the NHL

By Ericka McFee

Dec 11, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) is assisted by a trainer after being checked into the boards by Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg (not pictured) during the second period at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Toews Hit Should Be Reviewed by the NHL

It was almost the definition of a Pyrrhic victory when the Chicago Blackhawks hung on to beat the Boston Bruins 3-2 on Thursday night at the TD Garden. Although they extended their win streak to eight games and jumped ahead to the second spot in the overall league standings, they also suffered a huge loss about halfway through the game.

Bruins’ Dennis Seidenberg came at Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews from behind during a Hawks 5-on-3 power play, and drilled him into the boards…head first.

Although Toews somehow managed to keep playing for a bit until he was called for hooking, he headed straight for the dressing room from the penalty box after his two minutes elapsed. He was kept out for the rest of the game as a precautionary measure.

In the post-game press conference, Blackhawks Coach Joel Quenneville told reporters that the Captain was going to be okay, but he was concerned about such a dangerous hit. Bruins Coach Claude Julien, on the other hand, essentially blamed Toews for not being more careful.

Seidenberg received a standard two-minute boarding penalty during the game. It appears that the Department of Player Safety will be looking into the hit as well. But just because they are reviewing it doesn’t mean Seidenberg will face any further sanctions.

Case in point. Two cases, actually.

First, New York Islanders’ Matt Martin recently launched a pretty devastating hit on Minnesota Wild’s Keith Ballard, resulting in three facial fractures and a concussion. But Martin wasn’t suspended, because the league thought Ballard put himself in a vulnerable position that contributed to his injuries.

Second case in point involves Toews himself. Hawks fans will reluctantly recall the time that Brooks Orpik hit the Captain during a game near the end of the regular season last year, forcing him to sit out for a few weeks until the playoffs began. Not only was Orpik neither suspended nor fined, he didn’t even receive a penalty during the game.

Thankfully, it seems that Toews was in much better shape tonight than in either example mentioned above. Yet the concern about the hit itself remains.

It is one thing to discourage players from putting themselves in a vulnerable position – both to prevent injury and to remove any temptation a player might have to purposefully put themselves in such a position, thereby avoiding checks. It is also a given that hockey is a very contact-heavy sport where accidents and injuries happen all the time.

But the onus should be on the person delivering the hit in the first place, as being in a better position to decide whether the speed and angle at which they approach the player would result in injury. Pucks can be stripped in any number of ways. Seriously injuring a player on the opposing team should not be one of those ways.

What do you think, Hawks fans? How should the Department of Player Safety handle the matter?

Give us your reasons in the comments below!

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