Pat Sieloff is making sure the clean open-ice check has not gone the way of wooden sticks and Cooperall pants in the Ontario Hockey League.
On Thursday, the Calgary Flames second-rounder who joined the Windsor Spitfires this season made Erie Otters right wing Hayden Hodgson pay for turning his head to try and locate a puck near his feet just inside his own blueline. With Hodgson caught unawares, Sieloff pinched from his defence spot and dropped Hodgson with a shoulder-to-shoulder hit like he had the molecular density of a ghost, instead of being a strapping 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds. That's probably not what Hodgson, who hails from the Windsor region, had in mind for his first road game against his de facto hometown team.
Baseball's New York Yankees, whose season ended a couple hours earlier on the other side of the Detroit River, could have used such a heavy hitter.
Was it a case of an older NHL prospect taking advantage of a rookie fourth-liner? Perhaps. A better question is probably whether the Flames, Sieloff's NHL organization, could care less about when he's doing what he'll expected to do in the pros. Another question: is it time to add the word Sieloffed to the OHL lexicon?
The game itself swung on that play. Otters star defenceman Adam Pelech was kicked out for jumping in to defend his younger teammate while Sieloff, already down on the ice, demurred from fighting back. The Spitfires scored twice on the ensuing long power play and won 2-1. Sieloff even chipped in an assist along the way.
Before the season, there were rumblings that the rugged rearguard's heavy-hitting ways might lead to trouble for him in the OHL, which is sometimes scoffed at for being soft because of its strict rules about suspending players for checking to the head. However, Sieloff is walking the line. The graduate of the U.S. national team development program was ejected from a game three weeks ago for a check that left the Kitchener Rangers' Justin Bailey with a concussion that the 17-year-old forward has yet to return from, but the league did not see fit to issue a suspension.
This was by-the-book. One also has to love Sieloff's grim assessment: "Whenever you're looking back like that, you're asking for it."
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet (video: TV Cogeco Ontario, Windsor Star).