The NHL cracked down hard on the brutality of the game during last season’s Stanley Cup playoffs, but so far this year we haven’t heard too much from the league office when it comes to nasty hits. However, on Saturday night we thought we were going to get our first headline fine of the season when San Jose Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart threw a devastating check into Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog.
As it turns out, the NHL has decided that the hit will go unpunished.
The hit knocked Landeskog out of the game but he eventually returned. His presence didn’t really help the Av’s out too much as they still lost 4-0 to the Sharks, but after the game Landeskog told reporters that he didn’t think there was anything wrong with Stuart’s hit.
“I haven’t seen [the replay] but I think it was a clean hit, or felt like a clean hit,” he said. “No elbow, but it was hard, I’ll tell you that much. I was kind of reaching for the puck and didn’t brace myself enough and he stepped up. That’s the way with hockey, you give some and you take some, and tonight I took a pretty big one.”
While Landeskog didn’t see anything wrong with the hit, Av’s defenseman Ryan O’Byrne did and he left his position to tackle and attack Stuart for the hit.
Some think Stuart probably should have gotten a call from the Brendan Shanahan telling him to monitor the number of times he hits players like he did, but while it was a brutal destruction of Landeskog, it wasn’t a dirty hit. Stuart lowered his shoulder, stopped his skates and delivered a 100 percent clean hit on Landeskog.
The most damage and the greatest danger was created by O’Byrne when he came after Stuart and started a gigantic melee in front of Sharks goal.