Jason Spezza to receive in-person hearing for nasty retaliatory shot on Pionk

Dec 4, 2021; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jason Spezza (19) celebrates his goal with teammates during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Spezza will have an in-person hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety. (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) (USA Today Sports / reuters)

Jason Spezza always seems to rise to the occasion for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the occasion Sunday night called for the little nasty versus the Winnipeg Jets.

After Rasmus Sandin was stung by a dangerous knee-on-knee hit by Jets defeneman Neal Pionk, Spezza tracked down the culprit to deliver a nasty shot.

If any NFL or college football officials need a hand, this looks like textbook targeting from Spezza, who goes low to land a knee to the sternum of the sliding Pionk.

While it didn't result in a flag or an ejection, Spezza will likely miss a handful of games for the blow. The NHL's Department of Player Safety announced Monday that it has extended an in-person hearing to the veteran centre, meaning that a suspension could be in excess of five games.

For his role in the escalating circumstance between the Jets and Leafs, Pionk will also have a meeting wth the NHL, only it could be conducted over the phone.

Toronto's Wayne Simmonds was also fined the maximum allowable for a cross-check in the game.

Suspensions and sanctions are warranted given how the game spiralled out of control, but it should be more than just the players under review. The truth of the matter is that the officiating team's inability to control the game through a series of missed calls and blatant oversight was the primary catalyst to the nastiness.

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