During the first period of last night’s loss, Penguins star winger Evgeni Malkin used his stick to tomahawk Marc Staal across his helmet. Video of the incident is below:
With no news coming out of the department of player safety in regard to this incident as of yet, it appears Malkin will escape any punishment. That is a bit of a surprise considering previous high-sticking incidents that have come under review.
The NHL suspended Pierre-Marc Bouchard for two games early last season for a high-sticking incident against Columbus’ Matt Calvert. Calvert, who was struck in the face, was injured on the play. However, in that instance, safety czar Brendan Shanahan asserted “Regardless of where the slash was intended or whether Calvert’s lifting of the stick steered the slash up into the face area, Bouchard is responsible for his stick and the end result.”
Due to the force with which Malkin made contact with Staal and the fact that it struck Staal’s head, this definitely deserves another look from Shanahan and company. Even if Malkin didn’t intend to hit Staal’s head, he is supposed to be responsible for his stick and the result.
First off there is no way a ref standing three feet away with a clear path to the incident does not see Malkin swing his stick so how Malkin did not even get a penalty is beyond me. The way the refs protect and turn a blind eye to the Penguins is unfathomable. And don’t even get me started on the Dan Girardi/Sidney Crosby BS, but back to Malkin.
When a player deliberately uses his stick as a weapon he deserves to sit no ifs, ands, or buts. Then consider these two factors (1) Malkin has a history of dirty plays, typically using the slewfoot, and (2) Staal is a player not to far removed from a major concussion and stated he felt “dazed” after being struck by Malkin.
If Shanahan was really concerned about player’s safety these are the type of incidents he would crack down on. You have a vulnerable player and a known offender who committed an inexcusable action. The names on the back of the jersey should not matter. You can guarantee if it had been Staal’s stick coming across Malkin’s head the Rangers would be without one of their top defensemen for a couple games at the very least.