Some questioned the CBC's decision to air a seemingly meaningless mid-week game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Minnesota Wild, but the decision paid off. The Wild and Canadiens made it worthwhile, giving us a curiously compelling game full of big hits, bad blood, clutch goals, injuries (Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom left the game with a leg injury) and some truly odd incidents.
The oddest of which: a massive hit delivered by Canadiens' rearguard Alexei Emelin. What made it so odd? The victim of the hit was Erik Cole, Emelin's teammate.
It's a shame it was accidental, because this is a downright beautiful, open-ice hipcheck.
As you can see, Emelin's original target was Matt Kassian, but Kassian had his head up and was able to sidestep the check. (Kassian could do no wrong on this night. He scored the first two goals of his NHL career.) Emelin had too much momentum, however, and the result was that Cole, whose only crime was trying to backcheck, took the full force of the hit.
This game was full of bad checks. Warren Peters boarded Emelin. Petteri Nokelainen boarded Cal Clutterbuck. Heck, this might have been the cleanest hit of the night. It's too bad it was on the wrong guy.
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