As the National Hockey League faced one of the most controversial decision of the playoffs thus far, it seems that they are at least heading in the right direction. Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey will have a hearing from the league's department of player safety on Wednesday for his cross-check to the head of Minnesota Wild forward Eric Staal that took place during Game 4.
The incident occurred in the first period with the Wild already on a power play. Staal was without the puck in front of the Jets net when Morrissey delivered the high cross-check which knocked Staal to the ice. It hit the veteran forward right in the neck, which had him rushed to the bench in visible pain. Morrissey was not penalized on the play and Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau believes that made the difference in his team's 2-0 loss.
"They decided not to call it because we were already on the power play," Boudreau said. "It cost us the game."
On Wednesday, the league's department of player safety announced that Morrissey will have a hearing for the incident.
"I'm the tallest guy on the ice. He cross-checked me in the neck," Staal said, noting to TSN's Darren Dreger that the official did apologize to him after the contest for not making the call. "There's not much more you can say. Everyone saw it. I don't know how no one with stripes saw it."
“I’m sure he’s going to say he didn’t mean to, but you still have to be aware of your stick."
The Jet defender does not believe he was at fault during the incident, and that it was completely accidental.
"He's a big guy, and my stick ended up getting up a little bit on him," Morrissey said. "I would never try to do that to anybody. I'm not a dirty player."
The next contest between the Wild and the Jets will take place on Friday, so the league's department of player safety took the time to review and discuss the hit.
The Jets can ill afford to lose Morrissey for any stretch of time, especially if fellow blue liner Tyler Myers, who was sidelined for Game 4 with an injury, remains hurt. Winnipeg would much preferred to close out the franchise's first-ever series victory on Friday to get some time to rest and get better from all the injuries.
To be continued...