Things got a bit heated in the dying seconds of the first period between the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night.
After getting dumped to the ice by Rangers defenseman Marc Staal, Penguins star Evgeni Malkin appeared to have violently struck Staal in the helmet with his stick. Staal was in the process of falling when Malkin, from a prone position, swung his stick in Staal's direction. Malkin was not penalized on the play.
Staal, who sat out 36 games last season with a concussion, was described as incredulous after the game.
While addressing the media after New York's 3-0 loss to the Pens, Staal said, “He tomahawked me right on top of the helmet. He dazed me. I don't know how that's not called. I understand we're battling in front of the net, but he's hitting down like he's chopping wood across my head."
Maybe Malkin was just testing the flex on his stick.
With no news coming out of the department of player safety in regard to this incident as of yet, it appears Malkin will escape any punishment. That is a bit of a surprise considering previous high-sticking incidents that have come under review.
The NHL suspended Pierre-Marc Bouchard for two games early last season for a high-sticking incident against Columbus' Matt Calvert. Calvert, who was struck in the face, was injured on the play. However, in that instance, safety czar Brendan Shanahan asserted "Regardless of where the slash was intended or whether Calvert's lifting of the stick steered the slash up into the face area, Bouchard is responsible for his stick and the end result."
Due to the force with which Malkin made contact with Staal and the fact that it struck Staal's head, this definitely deserves another look from Shanahan and company. Even if Malkin didn't intend to hit Staal's head, he is supposed to be responsible for his stick and the result.