As I write this article, I’m still debating what will happen due to the hit from Jordin Tootoo on, that’s right, Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller... Tough to say what will happen.
For those who missed it, Tootoo went into the Buffalo end, followed closely by Christian Ehrhoff. Ehrhoff poked the puck from Tootoo and had his hand on Tootoo’s back. Ehrhoff followed the puck behind the Buffalo goal, Tootoo went through the Buffalo crease, and plowed over Miller. Miller didn’t leave his crease.
Now, I can completely see Shanahan stating that Ehrhoff pushed Tootoo into Miller. As I watched the replay (for the 47th time) I can see Shanahan making that argument. However, Ehrhoff doesn’t follow him to the goal. Ehrhoff goes behind the net. That’s the ONLY argument that Shanahan can make. And given his track record, ole’ Shanny will hang onto that as much as possible.
Plus, the ref made the immediate call on Tootoo. 5 minutes for charging, and a game misconduct. Shanahan may say that Tootoo was already punished, and that that is good enough.
However, there’s a few factors that scream suspension for Tootoo.
The biggest fact over all, is that Tootoo jumped into Miller. He left his skates. I’m not sure that he could have avoided hitting Miller. However, he extends his arms (just like Lucic), but unlike Lucic, leaves his skates, and goes right into Miller. That’s the key. He didn’t just bump Miller or try to stop, he continued right into Miller, and jumped into him. Hence the 5 minute charging penalty and game misconduct he received.
Also, Shanahan’s one mistake this year, and it was a big one, was not suspending Lucic. You can bet that he is probably anxious to make up for that call. Also, Tootoo has a history of taking penalties, and playing a little too aggressively.
Finally, you don’t suspend Tootoo for this hit, it sends the message to the NHL that it is ok to hit a goalie when he’s in the crease. I don’t think the NHL wants to go down this road, because things will get very ugly, very quickly in the NHL.
My thoughts, looking at all these combined facts, Tootoo gets suspended. Maybe... 5-7 games. But with Shanahan, you never know.
Finally, Buffalo’s response was amazing. Luckily Miller was able to protect himself, and avoid serious injury. He even followed Tootoo to the ground with a few punches. Plus, as soon as Tootoo hit the ice, Ehrhoff, Ellis, and Tropp were right there, all of them going after him, and Gaustad came plowing in to the melee as well. Buffalo did what they should have done against Boston. They seem to have rectified this mistake. Excellent response to the hit.
Again, I think that a suspension will be handed out by Shanahan, However, I’ve been wrong about this type of situation before.