By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Things got chippy in the third period of the Bruins’ 3-2 loss to the Lightning, and at least one player took it too far. Lightning winger Barclay Goodrow should most certainly face further discipline from the NHL Department of Player Safety for a hit to the head of the Bruins’ Anders Bjork.
Bjork winded up and fired the puck from the high slot, and as he released, Goodrow ran his shoulder directly into his face, snapping his head back. Goodrow received only a two-minute minor. Had he gotten a game misconduct, perhaps he would’ve avoided further discipline.
But based on recent history, this is suspension-worthy trash.
It’s clear that Goodrow was knowingly lining up Bjork for a hit as he was low to the ground. His intent was to deliver a punishing check, but had plenty of time to avoid his head. Even if Bjork was fully upright, the hit would have been high. The head contact was eminently avoidable.
“Keep your head up” doesn’t apply here. You can’t just say that whenever someone gets blindsided. The fact that Goodrow led with his shoulder doesn’t matter, either. The head contact (which, again, was avoidable) is what matters.
What also matters is the league’s recent precedents for suspensions. Kings defenseman Drew Doughty received a suspension for a similar play last year. The NHL has a low tolerance for riding your shoulder straight through a guy’s head, and thus should have the same low tolerance for what Goodrow did.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t even matter to the Bruins whether Goodrow is suspended for a game. In fact they might even prefer he doesn’t get suspended – because they’re going to need Tampa to beat the Flyers to give themselves a chance at avoiding the No. 4 seed.
Sports Hub Sidelines Podcast
Ty Anderson and I talked about the Goodrow hit, other observations from the Bruins’ loss to Tampa, and looked ahead to the Washington Capitals in Wednesday night’s bonus episode of the Sports Hub Sidelines podcast. Have a listen to the postgame show below.
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.