The National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety is extremely busy this spring, and this, just in the first round of the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs...
While many expect the department of Player Safety to come down hard on Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov for the hit he landed on New Jersey Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen last night, the Department of Player Safety made a different announcement this morning in links in one incident that took place during the fourth game of the first-round series between the Nashville Predators and the Colorado Avalanche. The league has just announced that Nashville’s Ryan Hartman will have a hearing today for an illegal check to the head on Colorado’s Carl Soderberg.
During the third period of the contest between the Avalanche and the Preds, Hartman cut down in the middle of the ice and caught Soderberg straight in the head with a shoulder hit. Soderberg appeared to get caught on the chin, and Hartman was sent to the penalty box for the hit. The commentators themselves predicted that Hartman could hear back from the NHL's Department of Player Safety for his actions, and they were right.
You can take a look at the hit in the videos here below:
Fans on social media criticized Hartman's hit especially because he appeared to charge prior to the collision, as if he was looking for someone to land a huge and dangerous hit on. In the end, Soderberg was his victim.
Clearly, the department of Player Safety has no break during the first-round series going on at the moment.There have also been suspensions handed down to Toronto Maple Leafs veteran center Nazem Kadri for a vicious blow to the head of Bruins veteran Tommy Wingels, a hit that cost him three playoff games. Just yesterday, the department announced that Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey is suspended one game for his cross-check to the neck of Minnesota Wild forward Eric Staal and now there seems to be a few incidents to take a look at before going forward with the playoffs.
The Avalanche counterpunched during Game 3 on their series against the Predators on Monday night, but the Preds withstood a furious rally by the Avs for a 3-2 win in Game 4 last night to take a 3-1 lead in the first-round series.