What constitutes a punishable hit in the NHL? Cam Neely and the Boston Bruins apparently aren’t sure.
The questioning started March 21, when St. Louis Blues forward Brayden Schenn delivered a shot to David Krejci’s head — a hit Schenn wasn’t suspended for because the NHL Department of Player Safety deemed Krejci’s head unavoidable.
And it continued six days later when Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey knocked Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk out of the game with a vicious hit into the boards. Morrissey didn’t receive a suspension or fine for that play, either.
The 23-year-old has no prior history of fines or suspensions in the NHL — but neither did David Backes, who received a three-game suspension for his hit on Detroit Red Wings center Frans Nielsen earlier this month.
Bruins team president Cam Neely was asked about this apparent disparity Wednesday and gave a candid answer.
“Its very frustrating,” Neely said, via NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty. “As much as you’d like to believe there’s gonna be more consistency, sometimes I don’t understand the rationales behind certain outcomes, or decisions that are made.”
“When it doesn’t go the way you think it should go, you’re going to be frustrated,” Neely added. “If it goes your way then you’re pleased. I think this organization has been more frustrated than not this year.”
Grzelcyk had to be helped off the ice Tuesday following Morrissey’s hit and didn’t return to the bench after suffering what Cassidy called an upper-body injury.
The 24-year-old is a game-time decision for Thursday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, according to the Bruins, who also recalled defenseman Tommy Cross from Providence on Thursday morning.
Thumbnail photo via Joe Puetz/USA TODAY Sports Images
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