Cheap shot hockey fires up Wild

Medical personnel tend to Minnesota Wild defenseman Keith Ballard after he was injured on a check into the boards by New York Islanders left wing Matt Martin during the second period of an NHL hockey game in St. Paul, Minn., Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014. Ann Heisenfelt / AP

Tough hockey or cheap shot?

Minnesota Wild defenseman Keith Ballard appeared to suffer a seizure of some sort after he was checked last night by New York Islander forward Matt Martin.

Here’s the hit.

There was no penalty called on the play. Why not?

CBS’ Adam Gretz says it’s because the league can’t or won’t decide what constitutes a late hit.

In the aftermath of the Robert Bortuzzo-Jaromir Jagr hit last week there was a lot of discussion as to how much time has to pass for the NHL to consider a hit to be late (.50 seconds seems to be the unofficial-official standard).

But the bottom line is you’re not allowed to hit a guy that doesn’t have the puck, and the whole concept of “finishing your check” doesn’t give you the freedom to take a run at a guy after he’s already given up the puck. If you have already started the process of checking a guy, and then he passes it or shoots it, you are allowed to “finish” that.

But if you start the process of the check after the guy has given up the puck, which seems to happen here, that is probably not going to fly with the league. Especially when there is a significant injury on the play and since Martin showed no sign of letting up.

On Martin’s next shift on the ice Wild forward Kyle Brodziak started a fight with Martin. The Wild scored five goals in a big comeback and everyone went home happy.

Ballard went to the hospital.

  • I was watching the game last night (big shock there), and didn’t think it was a “cheap shot” after looking at the actual check itself. Ballard tried to duck out of the way and the check caught him while his head was at the same level of the dasher.

    After seeing it here again, it DID seem a little late, but nothing glaringly obvious.

    If Ballard hadn’t have ducked, I’m pretty sure this hit wouldn’t have even slowed down the game.

    That’s just my take on it. YMMV.

    • joetron2030

      I heard a bit of Lou Nanne’s appearance on the 9a-1pm show on 1500AM this morning. He was saying the same thing.

  • Greg W

    It’s late. There’s no earthly reason to try and paste a guy at the boards right in front of the bench when the play is advancing. “Finishing your check” is a ludicrous concept in about 99% of the play in hockey.

    Plus, there was absolutely no need for Brodziak to get in a fight with Martin on the next shift. I love hockey, but that barbarian concept needs to be shown the door.

    • As I said earlier, it was a little late and seems even more so when viewed slowed down, but nothing that really stands out as being “overtly cheap” in my book. It was just unfortunate that he ducked right into the dasher.

      /There is a reason I wear a full cage when *I* play ice hockey.

      • Guest

        Unfortunate because Martin was taking a run at a player no longer controlling the puck?

        • As I already mentioned, it was a little late, but nothing out of the ordinary for an NHL game. Hits that late happen ALL the time, he was just in an unfortunate position when contact was made.

          Matt Martin was given a penalty on the play and after review, the NHL didn’t suspend him.

  • kevinfromminneapolis

    The NFL has probably gone overboard with its rules about roughness and blows to the head. A lot of times I look at a play and wonder how a huge man moving so fast is supposed to react in a split second to avoid a nasty hit and think it’s unfair to penalize them in a lot of cases. This looks like one of those plays. But at least the NFL has a rule. There was no penalty for this but plenty of penalties for the fights that followed afterwards. The NHL cares about player safety, by the way.