It’s never been disputed by anyone that hockey is a rough and tumble sport and if you don’t keep your head up you’re going to get knocked on your ass. But when exactly does simply playing the body cross over into the dark and dingy realm of cheap shot? The following un-penalized hit by Evgeni Malkin on the Kings’ Wayne Simmonds might just be that moment.
Keep in mind that the game was for all intents and purposes over for the Kings, who were losing 4-1 with only 14 seconds to go when Simmonds and Malkin came together. Simmonds was dazed but otherwise uninjured on the play, but does that make a shot to the head any less malicious? Was the hit unnecessary? Probably, but as one commenter on the HF Boards put it “a hit to the head is a hit to the head. Doesn’t matter if there is an injury or not.”
So my question to you is this: Does Evgeni Malkin deserve a bit of disciplinary action or is this hit something that should be filed away under “Just Part of the Game?” One could say that while going for the puck Simmonds lead with his head and therefore should have seen what was coming, while at the same time an argument can be made concerning Malkin’s clear attempt to hit Simmonds whether he saw it coming or not. And is that a bit of an elbow I see there?
It certainly looks like it.