The NHL has suspended Vancouver Canucks forward Jannick Hansen one game for a vicious elbow he threw to the back of Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa Tuesday night. Hansen was behind Hossa just outside of the neutral zone when he appeared to be going for a a flying puck but ended up slamming his elbow into the back of Hossa’s head.
Canucks fans and players are protesting that the contact was incidental but video replay clearly shows that Hansen changed the direction of his arm and elbowed Hossa in the back of the head intentionally.
Hossa was on the receiving end of another vicious hit less than a year ago in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when Raffi Torres put an illegal hit on him and received a 25 game suspension. Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith got a 5 game suspension last season for elbowing Daniel Sedin, a hit that wasn’t nearly as vicious as this one.
This non-ruling comes on the heels of numerous questionable calls by Brendan Shanahan, the NHL’s discipline czar. Hossa reportedly “seemed ok” after the game but this rivalry is continuing to get more and more physical and the NHL as a whole is getting more and more chippy and violent. The next time the Blackhawks see the Canucks isn’t until April but you’d better believe the hit on Hossa won’t be forgotten by Chicago in between now and then.