In Saturday night's 4-3 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings forward John Zeiler earned two minutes for roughing, five minutes for boarding and a game misconduct for a hit on defenseman Adam Foote in the second period. And we say "earned," we mean earned. (Video via HockeyFights.com.)
Bruce Ciskie of FanHouse cranked up the NHL Wheel of Discipline for this dangerous hit:
We have reached the stage where the NHL needs to do something. While the hit by Doug Weight on Brandon Sutter may have been clean (according to the letter of the law, so to speak), this was most certainly not. Foote was facing the boards the whole way, and Zeiler followed him, hit him hard from behind, and drove him into the boards. ...
... I'm not even sure I can concoct an argument against suspending Zeiler for at least three games, but that doesn't mean the league won't think of one.
Adrian Dater of the Denver Post thinks Zeiler's in for some swift justice:
I think Zeiler's hit was dirty because he extended his right arm and shoulder out and followed through to Foote's head and body with all his momentum. I think it's a lead pipe cinch Zeiler will be suspended, but the bigger issue is the accumulation of these kinds of hits in the game.
More importantly, Dater got some choice quotes from Avs tough guy Ian Laperriere about the hit:
"It's a dirty hit and it should be out of the game. It's got to come from the players, to police ourselves. It's got to come from the players. We've got to be smarter, and also the coaches. Coaches are out there, they tell those young guys ‘Make sure you hit everybody out there.' There's hits and there's stupid hits. We need to police ourselves as players and take those hits out of the game, before somebody gets killed or paralyzed."
Dater's right: The shove with the arm should earn Zeiler something more than three games. But would anyone be surprised if it didn't?