Jannik Hansen, you're next to step into Brendan Shanahan's office.
The Vancouver Canucks forward who hit Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa high in Chicago's 4-3 win on Tuesday night will have a phone hearing with the NHL's discipline czar on Wednesday at 3:30 ET. Hossa was knocked out of the game and did not return, something that will not help Hansen's defense.
Before a hearing was even announced, this hit has provided a big debate on its merits, or lack thereof. The argument for a suspension seems to be pretty obvious; it was a forearm shot right to Hossa's head. The other side of the coin is that it was a matter of running into him, a hockey play where Hansen was just trying to grab the airborne puck or just unintentional. Basically, people trying to not find fault in the hit.
Even if it was unintentional, it shouldn't spare Hansen. Just the same, as you are responsible for your stick at all times on the ice, so, too, are you responsable for your body. It's reckless to throw your arm up high like that, a difference between some other incidents deemed accidental, such as Matt Cooke's skate on Erik Karlsson's leg.
After the game, Hansen explained his side of things (via Chicago Tribune).
"It's out of my hands," Hansen said. "The game is happening very fast out there. It's up to them to look at it now. I don't believe there is out of what I saw.
"We were both kind of jumping for the puck. He grabs the puck first, and as I'm coming down, I kind of land on him a little bit. Apparently, I hit him in the back of the head is what the ref was telling me once I come down. It's hard for me to tell what really happened."
His coach, Alain Vigneault, was even more staunch in his defense of Hansen. He's probably already shocked that a hearing has been called based on his take of things on Tuesday night.
From The Province
"It wasn't even a penalty," Vigneault said. "Both the referees, looked at the play, and until Toews went out to talk to them it wasn't a penalty.
"I wasn't given [an explanation]."
What about supplementary discipline?
"Not a chance," Vigneault said. "He was trying to grab a puck in the air.'
It doesn't appear that Shanahan would agree and, at this point, Shanahan has the only opinion that matters. Shanny wouldn't have a hearing scheduled if he didn't think the hit were a little worse than Vigneault does. There's certainly a better-than-good chance now that Hansen will be suspended. Sorry, Alain.
It was undoubtedly a scary sight for fans in Chicago. Not only has Hossa been very good this season and losing him would be a big loss if he's out for any period of time, but it was a touch reminiscent of the hit from Coyotes forward Raffi Torres that ended Hossa's playoffs last year and had him leaving the ice on a stretcher.
Hansen's hearing will be done over the phone, which means he can not be suspended more than five games, in case you were curious. I wouldn't expect a suspension to approach that length, but I guess you never know.