The Department of Player Safety may have shrugged off Rick Nash's hit on Tomas Kopecky, but Alexander Edler stands -- or, in this case, sits -- as evidence that they've not gone soft.
For running over netminder Mike Smith Thursday night in Phoenix, the Vancouver Canucks' defenceman has been suspended two games for charging .
I've been saying since last night that I didn't think this one was going to earn a suspension. Looks like I was dead wrong.
That said, I still don't agree with it. Undoubtedly, Edler doesn't attempt to minimize or avoid contact, as the video says. That's clear. He doesn't stop, or turn, or scream "Moooooove!" at any point in this clip. But I'd like to know where he's supposed to go.
The Canucks are on a powerplay. They've wrung the puck around the boards, and he's racing after it. Suddenly, Smith pops out from his net, and not only does he take possession of the puck, but he turns and opens himself up to the player headed around the net after the puck at full speed.
Unlike Andrew Shaw's collision with Smith from last year's playoffs, which earned him a three-game ban, it's the goalie, not the skater, that puts himself in the other party's way. Shaw was at the blueline when Smith headed behind the net to take the puck on that collision. Edler's already at the goal line.
Still, I was comfortable with the five-minute major the play earned on the ice. I didn't think Edler had much of a choice in the matter, but an attempt to slow up or stop, however futile it might have been, would have allowed him to skate away from this incident with a "my bad".
But to sit him for two more games, when the Department is not only willing to say there was "no malicious intent" on the play but also unwilling to call this reckless, well, I don't see the sense in it.
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