Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks was ejected from their game at the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night for one of the more egregious late hits to the head we’ve seen in the NHL this season.
That’s Wild rookie Jason Zucker releasing the puck and then getting walloped by Perry, who finished his check and planted the back of his right shoulder into Zucker’s head. Perry was given a 5-minute major for interference and a game misconduct.
Zucker remained flat on his back for several minutes before being helped to the back.
Illegal check to the head?
48.1 Illegal Check to the Head – A hit resulting in contact with an opponent's head where the head is targeted and the principal point of contact is not permitted. However, in determining whether such a hit should have been permitted, the circumstances of the hit, including whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the hit or the head contact on an otherwise legal body check was avoidable, can be considered.
Was the head targeted? That’s the issue. There’s no question that Zucker’s noggin was the principal point of contact, but was Perry targeting the head? Zucker admires the pass and then turns into an on-rushing Perry. It's not like this was Mike Richards on David Booth or anything.
It’ll be an interesting call for the NHL, as far as duration. But Corey Perry will be suspended for this. The penalty, the aftermath of the hit and the fact that it was so late will necessitate it. The statute of limitations has passed on its influence in a Perry suspension, but the Ducks forward was handed a 4-game suspension for an elbow on Claude Giroux back in 2009.
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