The NHL’s Department of Player Safety has suspended Toronto Maple Leafs’ forward Zach Hyman for two games. The 26-year-old was assessed a five-minute major penalty in addition to a game misconduct for interference on Boston Bruins’ defender Charlie McAvoy in Saturday’s contest between the Maple Leafs and Bruins.
Toronto’s Zach Hyman has been suspended for two games for interference on Boston’s Charlie McAvoy. https://t.co/1qvBURr6sM
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) December 9, 2018
The hit was highly discussed when it happened and there was a strong expectation that there would be supplemental discipline as a result. While there was a lack of contact with McAvoy’s head on the play, the fact that the hit was so forceful and so late is what really alerted the Department of Player Safety to the incident.
In 30 games this season, Hyman has scored seven goals and 15 points for the Maple Leafs. He’s also scored three goals and four points in his last five points. He was held without a point against the Bruins in 14:24 of ice time and was assessed a total of 20 penalty minutes in the game.
Below is the NHL Department of Player Safety’s video explaining the suspension followed by a full transcript from the video.
Full Transcript of the NHL’s Video
Saturday night in Boston, Maple Leafs’ forward Zach Hyman was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for interference on Bruins’ defenseman Charlie McAvoy.
As the video shows, the Maple Leafs dump the puck into the Bruins’ zone where it is stopped by Bruins’ goaltender Jaroslav Halak. Halak moves the puck to McAvoy, who looks to make a play. Hyman moves down the boards in case of an errant pass or to play a rimmed puck. McAvoy quickly sends the puck back behind the Bruins’ goal.
Well after the puck is gone and still outside the line of sight of McAvoy, Hyman delivers a late, forceful, high hit that sends McAvoy dangerously into the boards. This is interference. Players who are not in possession of the puck are never eligible to be checked. However, the interference rule provides a brief window where a player who initiated a check while his opponent was in possession of the puck may finish his check. This is not such a play.
Hyman initiates this hit well after the puck is gone and contact is made well outside the window where a check may be legally finished. In addition to the lateness of the check, what causes this hit to rise to the level of supplemental discipline is the force of the hit and the predatory nature of the hit itself.
Hyman approaches this hit while facing McAvoy’s numbers ensuring that even a timely hit would be delivered to a player that is unprepared for contact. While hitting an unsuspecting player is not illegal, doing so on a hit that is extremely late ensures that McAvoy is entirely unaware of impending contact and unable to protect himself in any way.
To summarize: this is interference. Hyman has been neither fined nor suspended previously in his 210-game NHL career. The Department of Player Safety has suspended Zach Hyman for two games.