There was a rather interesting start to the Canucks and Sharks game Sunday night. Before the opening puck was even dropped, Ryane Clowe and Alex Burrows were given minor penalties, and the game started 4-on-4.
What happened to precipitate the early dustup was Burrows leaning in and bumping heads with Sharks center Logan Couture, who took offense and gave Burrows a little shove. From there Clowe skated in to stick up for Couture, and he and Burrows earned their minors.
What wasn't discussed nor even punished, though, was what Jannik Hansen did. Take note of No. 36 on the left side of the screen from the above-ice camera. He comes into frame and pretty clearly cross-checks the referee from behind. It was enough to almost knock the referee over.
The big mystery to me is why Hansen wasn't punished in the game. Did the officials think it was Clowe who pushed the referee? Maybe that's why he had 35 minutes worth of penalties in the Sharks' 4-1 win.
It's hard to come up with much of an excuse for Hansen in this case either. It's kind of hard to mistake a guy in vertical black and white stripes for a member of the opposition. It hardly seemed accidental either, as he pretty clearly extended his arms into a full cross check.
The next question was would the league punish Hansen for this? The answer is no.
"In cases like that, Colin Campbell, Terry Gregson and the Hockey Ops guys leave it up to the discretion of the on-ice officials whether behavior crossed the line," a league source told CBSSports.com. "And I have seen no referees report on the incident."
The league looked at something else from that game, Aaron Volpatti's hit on Bruce Irwin that seemed to be a pretty obvious charge. But Brendan Shanahan decided the hit was not worthy of supplemental discipline.
S/t to Reddit