If ever we needed an NHL video on why a suspension or fine wasn’t handed out, now would be the time.
Why? Our guesses ...
1. The principal point of contact may not have been the head. Blow up the screen and it appears Nash might have hit Kopecky in the back of the shoulders rather than squarely in the head, although he does eventually knock the helmet off of Kopecky by shoving down with his gloves.
Because, you see, he jumped into the air to hit him.
This may not have been the clear cut Rule 48 we all thought. Again, in theory.
2. There was no injury on the play. Kopecky scored the dagger into an empty net after the hit, giving the Panthers the 3-1 win and prompting Coach Kevin Dineen to say "that's Chumbawamba right there. … You get knocked down and get right back up. We're beat up. We have a lot of bodies out, people at home watching. Kopecky wanted to get right back in the fight.''
3. Nash has never been suspended before. As far as we can tell, he’s got a clean slate.
So that’s all we got. Otherwise, this is a leaping, reckless hit against a defenseless opponent who had just fired the puck on goal. It’s not Matt Cooke on Marc Savard, in execution or aftermath, but it’s a distant second cousin.
It’s a hit that the NHL doesn’t want made; but it’s a hit that won’t be punished by the NHL, for what ever reason its Department of Player Safety has determined.
The Rangers are tied for the No. 8 seed with the Carolina Hurricanes with 32 points in 30 games. Rick Nash is their leading scorer with 25 points.