It was announced by the NHL department of Player Safety that Canucks forward Jake Virtanen will be suspended for the next two games for a hit on Roman Polak during the second period of the Canucks and Sharks game on Tuesday night. During the game, Virtanen received a five minute major and a game misconduct for the play.
The full explanation can be found here:
Vancouver’s Jake Virtanen suspended two games for interference on San Jose’s Roman Polak. Video: https://t.co/TSMNfXW9wD
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) March 30, 2016
The hit can be viewed here:
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) March 30, 2016
The Department of Player Safety deemed the hit to be ‘a late and violent’ check to a player that was not expecting to be hit so long after moving the puck. Given that explanation, it is understandable why further discipline was handed down to the young Canucks forward. Although it can be argued that Polak was admiring his pass, there is still too much time between when the puck leaves Polak’s stick and when Virtanen makes contact.
Prior to this hit, Roman Polak cut in front of Jake Virtanen, who was standing in front of the Sharks net, and knocked Virtanen’s stick out of his hand. Virtanen looks to the referee in confusion, then picks up his stick and chases the play up the ice. This is why he comes before the back side of Polak.
The two game suspension seems to be a harsh punishment for the play, as Polak was un-injured and Virtanen does not make any contact with Polak’s head or follow through with his elbow. But it was a late hit to an unsuspecting player and could’ve resulted in a more serious outcome.
Virtanen will miss tomorrow’s game in San Jose and Friday’s game in Anaheim.