It’s not often I agree with a ruling by NHL Player Safety. I previously had written a critical piece on the hypocrisy of what they decide to review. That’s a consistency issue that will continue to be up for debate.
What isn’t is that after having a telephone hearing with Rangers rookie defenseman Ryan Lindgren regarding his hit that injured Avalanche forward Joonas Donskoi in the first period of Tuesday’s game, they decided against taking any supplementary discipline. Here’s the two part explanation on Twitter:
I think the key in their ruling not to fine or suspend Lindgren was that he didn’t take an indirect angle or go out of his way to deliver the check on Donskoi. He didn’t extend outward or upward as they explained. This was a good clean hit with shoulder to upper body contact that unfortunately caught Donskoi in a prone position to make head contact. It was unavoidable.
I’ve seen enough angry replies to the Tweet already. That is expected. Nobody wants to see a player get hurt. However, there was nothing dirty about Lindgren’s hit. It was similar to a few of Scott Stevens’ biggest hits.
There really isn’t a whole lot to add here. Lindgren was held accountable by Nazem Kadri, who immediately instigated a fight and bloodied the rookie. They also got that call right, giving Kadri 17 penalty minutes including an instigator and misconduct.
As I said previously, hitting and fighting are part of hockey. That isn’t up for debate. Hopefully, Donskoi isn’t out a long time due to the hit. If he’s cleared, Lindgren could return tomorrow. We’ll see.
The right decision was made here. Kudos to NHL Player Safety on reviewing it and realizing it was a clean play that was unintentional.