Johnny Boychuk of the Boston Bruins is known as a big-time hitter in hockey circles, but his hit on Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews in the second period of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final might result in another label: Shana-banned.
For those that didn't see it, here's the play:
From our perspective, it appears that Boychuk's hit was in violation of Rule 48.1 in the NHL rulebook, which reads as follows:
Rule 48.1 Illegal Check to the Head - A hit resulting in contact with an opponent's head where the head is targeted and the principal point of contact is not permitted. However, in determining whether such a hit should have been permitted, the circumstances of the hit, including whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the hit or the head contact on an otherwise legal body check was avoidable, can be considered.
Toews certainly did not put himself in a vulnerable position on that play. He was looking down at the puck that he was trying to corral for a shot attempt on Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask, and Boychuk came across the ice with his arms extended in an effort to hit Toews high.
In our opinion, Boychuk should be suspended for at least a game for the infraction. What do you think Hawks fans?
Kerry Fraser, a former NHL official, had this to say about the play: