Canes miffed by lack of punishment for Winnipeg's Bogosian

Jets hit on Nodl left unpunished

calexander@newsobserver.comMarch 20, 2012 

— Carolina Hurricanes forward Andreas Nodl may be concussed and out for as long as a week, if not longer.

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Zach Bogosian, meanwhile, will play on.

To say the Hurricanes are a bit miffed by that development would be accurate. The way the NHL metes out punishment leaves players and coaches confused as to what they can and cannot do on the ice.

In Sunday’s game in Winnipeg, Nodl was playing the puck along the boards when Bogosian came in at top speed, left his feet, rammed Nodl in the chest and flattened him. Nodl had to be helped off the ice and did not return to the game.

Bogosian received a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct. There was no supplemental discipline Monday from the NHL for the hit.

Canes coach Kirk Muller said Monday he had not received a medical report on Nodl’s condition and did not know if he suffered a concussion. Muller said Nodl “got his bell rung” and had concussion-like symptoms, saying the winger could miss a couple of games or more.

When told Bogosian faced no other penalty from the league, Muller said, “It’s not our call as coaches to make the decisions, but we’ve got a guy who possibly could be out a week from it. I thought it was clear (Bogosian) left his feet and clearly a charge. But I guess (the NHL) saw it differently.”

The NHL is trying to be more transparent in discussing fines and suspensions. Videos of transgressions are posted on the league’s website in which Brendan Shanahan, senior vice president of player safety, explains why penalties were given.

One of the more recent penalties involved the Canes’ Jeff Skinner using his skate to push off Scott Nichol of the St. Louis Blues. Nichol was not injured but Skinner was given a two-game suspension Friday.

“They have certain guidelines they follow but there are always judgments,” Canes defenseman Bryan Allen said. “When you’re the team that has the victim obviously you want the guy suspended, but it’s a hard thing. They try to explain as much as possible but definitely there’s a gray area.

“Sometimes it’s based on a player. Is he the type of player who makes those hits? There are different things that come into it.”

Bogosian twice dodged suspensions this season for questionable hits. He elbowed Washington Capitals’ Cody Eakin in the head and smacked Minnesota’s Pierre Marc-Bouchard from behind – a play that also led to a game misconduct.

Canes’ forward Tuomo Ruutu is a full speed player who has given out his share of booming hits.

“The thing is it’s really tough sometimes to draw that line as what’s legal and what’s not,” Ruutu said. “You look at some suspensions and you say, ‘OK, that’s interesting,’ or ‘Why wasn’t that?’ ”

In October 2009, Ruutu was suspended three games for a hit from behind on Darcy Tucker, then with the Colorado Avalanche. Tucker was knocked unconscious and carried from the ice on a stretcher while Ruutu was given a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct.

Ruutu noted questionable suspensions, and non-suspensions, have long been a part of the game.

“It’s nothing new,” Ruutu said. “There are more suspensions right now. I think there is obviously more talk about it, as well.”

Ruutu said the NHL posting videos and Shanahan’s explanations are a “good thing.”

“But every situation is different,” he said. “Sometimes, the guy leans forward and you hit him in the front and get the head first ... but there’s no way you could hit him without hitting the head first. It’s a judgment, like hooking or holding. You just have to be smart.”

NOTE: Defenseman Joni Pitkanen, sidelined since early December, may be able to return for Wednesday’s game against the Florida Panthers, Muller said Monday. Pitkanen suffered a concussion Dec. 6 and later underwent knee surgery.

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