UPDATE: According to Joe Haggerty and others, Schenn will not face supplemental discipline for the hit.
If the NHL is serious about hits to the head, then the Dept. of Player Safety will take a serious look at the way Brayden Schenn walloped David Krejci in the Blues’ win over the Bruins on Thursday. (UPDATE: They’ve taken a “good look” at the hit, according to Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic. But it’s unclear whether he’ll be disciplined.)
As Krejci chipped the puck forward then turned up the ice along the boards, Schenn flew in and drove his shoulder directly into Krejci’s face. He knocked the Bruins center to the ice, but did not appear to injure him. Schenn was assessed a two-minute minor for charging on the play.
Here’s the only view you need of the hit:
Where Schenn may have earned himself some supplemental discipline is that he left both feet (albeit post-contact) and delivered the hit at a bit of an upward angle. Krejci was slightly crouched over, sort of like Charlie McAvoy against Patric Hornqvist. But since his head wasn’t totally down and Schenn charged him from several feet away, there could be a case that the head contact was avoidable.
While you can’t quite categorize this as a “dirty” or malicious hit, it was certainly a dangerous one. Schenn wasn’t trying to injure Krejci, but he got a little carried away. And Krejci’s head was clearly the principal point of contact here.
Schenn’s hit is different from the one that David Backes delivered to the head area of the Red Wings’ Frans Nielsen. But if Backes gets suspended three games for his hit with no priors, then Schenn’s hit on Krejci should at least get a review from Player Safety.
Schenn has been suspended a total of four games in his career, and both suspensions were instances of charging. Player Safety suspended him three games in 2016 for a fairly similar hit against T.J. Oshie. So unlike Backes, he’s a cut-and-dry repeat offender. (UPDATE: Schenn actually can’t be treated as a “repeat offender” since his last suspension was over 18 months ago.) The only thing he has going for him is that he did lead with his shoulder and Krejci apparently didn’t suffer an injury from the hit.
Still, the NHL is clearly working to legislate hits to the head out of the game. Ideally, hits like this and Backes’ would be allowed. But Schenn has been on their radar in the past. So if the league wants to show any consistency whatsoever, they need to hit Schenn with something extra beyond the two-minute minor.
— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.