Late in a frustrating loss against the Nashville Predators on Saturday night, Chicago Blackhawks forward Ryan Hartman delivered a hit that will likely earn some extra scrutiny from the NHL's Department of Player Safety.
On the play, which occurred late in the third period, Hartman drilled Nashville's Craig Smith with a hit along the boards. That play was a clean one, but what followed was the exact opposite.
As Smith was on the ground, Hartman delivered a nasty cross-check to Smith, leaving him writhing in pain on the ice:
The hit was quickly assessed a penalty by officials, who gave Hartman a two-minute minor penalty for cross-checking and a 10-minute misconduct as well.
Just one day after Columbus' Matt Calvert was suspended for a game for his vicious cross-check late in the Blue Jackets' loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, questions will inevitably be asked: should Hartman also sit for his infraction?
In light of the Calvert suspension, the league is definitely going to be looking at instances where players lash out late in games, and in an effort to curb the practice of "sending messages" with borderline or dirty plays, there is a strong chance that they will classify Hartman's extra cross-check as one worth punishing.