I just returned home from witnessing what can only be described as a thrashing. The Hamilton Bulldogs were visiting the Manitoba Moose tonight, and one team found their hands, legs, and the back of the net often. All of that info will be brought forth tomorrow in a Thursday edition of Antler Banter. Tonight, I want to post one thing before retiring for the evening. This kind of hit is something that will get a crowd going, but it's something that I believe demonstrates a complete lack of respect that players have for one another today.
I appreciate North Dakota's Matt Frattin's opportunistic hit on Minnesota's Kevin Wehrs, but I have one problem with this hit. It's not that Frattin hits Wehrs' head. It's not that he wound up from the blueline.
My issue is that he never attempted to play the puck in any way, shape, or form.
The original reason for the bodycheck in hockey was to create separation between the puck-carrier and the puck. In the instance above, the intent was obviously different. And the more I watch the replay, the more I am disgusted with the hit.
My call, if I were officiating, would have been a two-minute minor for charging, a five-minute major for a check to the head, a five-minute major for boarding, a ten-minute misconduct, and a game misconduct.
In reality, Frattin got a major contact-to-the-head penalty that led to five minutes in the box. He was suspended for one NCAA game a day later. Wehrs got to lie on the ice motionless as his teammates came to his defence, and ended up with a mild concussion.
While I'm far from calling for a player's head, I do think that the NCAA should do more about cultivating a culture of respect in the collegiate hockey system. Had Frattin actually tried to make a play on the puck, the damage he inflicted on Wehrs wouldn't have been as severe, and North Dakota may have generated a scoring chance. Instead, Frattin spent the next five minutes in the penalty box.
- Frattin gained speed for approximately 50 feet before heading into the corner.
- Frattin didn't make any attempt for the puck along the boards.
- Frattin left his feet to throw the check.
- Frattin led with his shoulder, making contact with Wehrs' head.
Let me know in the comments.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!