Photo Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Early in the first period of the Vancouver Canucks’ Tuesday night game against the Nashville Predators, Canucks defender Kevin Bieksa caught Predators forward Viktor Stalberg with an illegal check to the head.
Bieksa was assessed a minor penalty on the play and Stalberg left the game rather woozily with an apparent head injury. The Swedish winger returned and took another shift within five minutes on the game clock though, and the Predators cashed in on the ensuring power-play opportunity.
So will Bieksa be hearing from the league as a result of the hit? Let’s discuss it on the other side of the jump.
Here’s a reverse angle of the hit in question:
(Courtesy: FOX Sports)
Whether or not Bieksa receives a suspension as a result of this hit is anyone’s guess.
Working in Bieksa’s favour is that Stalberg’s positioning was low, and that the veteran Canucks defender has no history of supplementary discipline (as far as I can tell).
Working against Bieksa is the seriousness with which Stephane Quintal’s Department of Player Safety treats illegal checks to the head. In his first full year as the NHL’s chief disciplinarian, Quintal has suspended 10 players for a total of 32 games for rule 48 violations. It’s easily the most frequently suspended offense in the league.
Have your say: does Bieksa’s hit-to-the-head on Stalberg merit supplementary discipline?