During the waning minutes of the Jets game against the Pens last night Pens defenseman Kris Letang hit Jets forward Alex Burmistrov from behind, driving him into the side wall. A two minute penalty was assessed to Letang and the young Russian forward came away from the hit for the most part unscathed. The hit was from behind.....there is no denying that. Some say that Burmistrov turned into the boards at the last moment, but looking at it impartially, that was not the case. Burmistrov was just playing the puck. To Burmistrov's credit, he didn't lie there pretending to be hurt, because if he did, I am sure that the call would have been 5 and a game.
Now what ?
This will be Shanahan's first ruling that will involve someone who would be considered a "star" player. Someone who, if not in the lineup, will very much affect the team dynamic. It will be very interesting to see how this ruling goes as everyone and their dog has wondered what would happen when a "star" player did something wrong (most thought it would be Ovechkin).
In my opinion, the hit wasn't all that bad. It wasn't nearly as bad as the crosscheck Kunitz gave to Tanner Glass, hitting him directly in the mush. Well done Kunitz. First you get away with crosschecking Varlamov in the head during the playoffs against the Caps a couple years ago, and now it appears you will get away scott-free with your crosscheck to the face of Tanner Glass. I can't believe the league didn't get a video of that one.
In any case, today will be the most scrutinized verdict in Shanahan's short tenure as the NHL's disciplinarian. One thing is for certain though, whatever he chooses to do (or not do), people will be all over him for it.