Late in Saturday’s Game 1 between the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings, Hawks forward Dave Bolland unleashed a hellacious check on Kings forward Mike Richards behind the Hawks net. The play sent Richards sprawling to the ice, and he slowly skated off under his own power, clearly not in good shape however.
The response to the hit was immediate, with some calling for a suspension for Bolland and some saying that it was a clean hit.
Before we delve too far into it, here is a video of the play in question:
League sources have already said that Bolland will not face any supplemental discipline for the hit, but the question in hockey circles remains a simple one: should he have been banned for the check?
One thing stands out immediately, and that is that it appears Bolland leaves his feet, jumping into the check and going high on Richards. Upon closer inspection, however, it looks like Bolland’s left skate is still on the ice at impact, and that takes away at least one argument from the “suspension” crowd.
In addition, the point of initial contact is unclear on this video. From one angle, it looks as though Bolland hit Richards with his back, but another one of the video replays looks like it was actually an elbow that caught Richards.
If that is the case, then Bolland should have been suspended for at least a game or two, but frankly, the evidence isn't very strong. The league probably would have been okay suspending Bolland for a brief stint, but it is also okay that they opted not to, as the league seems to have a higher burden of proof on suspensions during the playoffs.
What do you think?