The NHL delivered a definitive answer to the question of whether the Canucks' Jannik Hansen deserved discipline for his hit on the Blackhawks' Marian Hossa.
Another question remains as to the severity of the injury Hossa suffered when Hansen sent a forearm to the back of the winger's head during the third period of the Hawks' 4-3 shootout victory Tuesday night at the United Center.
The league on Wednesday suspended Hansen for one game, with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan calling the hit "an illegal forearm to the head delivered recklessly and forcibly."
After the hit, which came as the puck was sailing toward the two players in front of the Hawks' bench, Hossa was down on the ice for several moments before he was helped to the bench and then into the dressing room. He did not return.
In April, Hossa suffered a severe concussion when the Coyotes' Raffi Torres leveled him with an illegal check in the same area as Tuesday night's incident. Torres was suspended 21 games and Hossa was not cleared to play until mid-November.
The Hawks were off Wednesday and declined to make any team official available to comment on Hossa's status. Coach Joel Quenneville is to address the situation after Thursday's practice. Quenneville did say after the game that the veteran "seems OK."
Hossa's absence from the lineup would be a huge blow to the Hawks as they look to extend the NHL record for consecutive games to start a season without a regulation loss to 17 when they face the Sharks on Friday night. Hossa is tied for third on the Hawks in scoring with eight goals and six assists and is one of the team's best two-way players while playing on the top line.
One plausible indicator on the severity of the injury is the short suspension to Hansen as the league does take into account the amount of time an injured player is likely to miss following an illegal action from an opponent. It also bases any decision on past illegal incidents, of which Hansen had none.
Hansen docked 1 game for illegal hit on Hossa
Chicago Tribune | Feb 21