Hit of the game last night: Danny Briere on E. Kane
Briere got the gate for interference on this hit but it was clear that Kane got rid of the puck just before Briere hit him. It was obviously clean in every other way, as the call was interference and not charging or head contact, etc.
My problem with this call isn't so much that this wasn't a penalty but, rather, that this is only one call in a rash of calls that is starting to show a pattern this year from officials. Big hits= 2 minutes in the box.
I understand the need to eliminate blindside hits to the head. I do. If a player gets hit up high from behind its a dangerous play. But to call penalties on hits that are head on with the player being checked having his head down, or big hits like this where an opposing player comes in clean and makes contact right after puck possession, is taking away an element of the game.
This was a hockey play, and as I am sure will not be reviewed because the call on the ice was interference. However, the fact that hits like this are being assigned terms that don't fit and are assigned penalty minutes is worrisome to me.
In my opinion a continued pattern of calls like this, which is already taking shape, will cause players to be more cautious, to second guess themselves and, in the end, hurt the way the game is played.
Big hits don't always mean foul play, and this is something the NHL officials need to take note of and not feel the pressure to over-call from league officials to babysit (for lack of a better term) the game.