Players know that one of the cardinal sins in hockey -- and sports -- is touching officials in an aggressive manner. You just don't do it, it spells trouble every time.
As a result, we don't see it happen often. But it happened on Tuesday night. Twice.
One incident involved Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov after he and his teammates felt like he was slew-footed by Jeff Skinner of the Hurricanes. Tensions were high when the whistle blew and the scrum ensued, eventually Orlov shoves linesman Jean Morin who was trying to restrain Orlov.
Have a look.
Is it a lot? No, not really. But it still isn't tolerated by the league. It's a line that the NHL has to keep 100 percent clear and you would think this fits the bill. You'd think.
Then again, Bob McKenzie notes that Orlov was not written up for abuse by the linesmen, so that helps Orlov. That doesn't mean he is out of the woods, however. The league could still punish him in some way.
While the league looks at the Orlov incident you know that the Skinner slew foot will also be looked at. The NHL has been punishing players for that this season.
“We were going into the corner, I think he tried to sort of back up and I felt like he tried to come and hit me,” Skinner said after the game. “I think he may have slipped. I don't know. I looked at the replay when I was in the box and it sort of looked like I finished with my hands forward, but that was my momentum. I don't know. I think he just slipped.”
I can buy that, it doesn't seem completely malicious to me (everybody is bound to see that one differently). Apparently the league bought it too.
Sorry if late on this - no supplemental discipline for Jeff Skinner. NHL believes it was more trip than a slew-foot. Still waiting on Orlov.— Brian McNally (@bmcnally14) March 7, 2012
The other player-official push last night came from renowned Predators pest Jordin Tootoo for a small cross check to the back of a linesman stepping between Tootoo and Matt Greene. Like Orlov, Tootoo was given a 10-minute misconduct but was not written up for abuse of the officials after the game.
Here's an animated .gif of the Tootoo incident so you can watch for the contact over and over and over ...