Should Dustin Penner Have Been Suspended for Hitting Dave Bolland?

League ruled it a "reflex" play, but the video tells a different tale

Dustin Penner of the Los Angeles Kings will not be receiving any additional discipline from the league for his hit on Chicago Blackhawks center Dave Bolland during Thursday’s night’s Game 4.

The play, which occurred in the third period of the contest, came as Bolland was skating along the defensive blue line, with Penner travelling the opposite direction. The resulting collision sent Bolland back to the bench, muttering and obviously frustrated about the hit.

Here is the play in question:

Before we get to our take on the play, here is what the NHL Department of Player Safety had to say in a tweet following questions about the play:

The question now that the league has ruled on the play is this: did they get the decision right not to suspend Penner?

First off, calling the play a “reflex forearm prior to a collision” is a bit of a stretch. A capture of the moment of impact shows that Penner caught Bolland directly in the side of the head, but it very well could have been his elbow making the contact. It isn’t definitive, but it sure looks that way.

While the term “not predatory” seems to be correct, Penner still should have been at least fined or suspended for a game for the play. No, it wasn’t one of those Earth-shattering collisions, and no, Bolland didn’t appear to sustain an injury on the play, but the fact is that Penner stuck his elbow out and blindsided Bolland in the head, and that is a suspension-worthy play in this league.

With Bolland’s history of concussion problems, the last thing he needs is for a guy who was showing little to no control on the ice (Penner also high-sticked Patrick Kane in the third period, which also wasn’t called for anything) to give him a fly-by shot to the head.

It wasn’t the most malicious play you’ll ever see, but the intention was there, whether Shanahan and the NHL want to admit it or not.

What do you think Hawks fans?

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