It seems former Canucks second-line center Ryan Kesler (ha ha, backhanded compliment) will not receive supplemental discipline from the NHL for his hit-to-the-head of Vancouver’s Derek Dorsett, delivered in the second period of Tuesday’s 4-0 Anaheim win.
The NHL has yet to comment on the hit, but reports are that Kesler won’t be subjected to a hearing with the league’s Department of Player Safety – and probably won’t star in one of their very technically riveting explanatory videos.
(The league also did a drive-by nothing on Alexei Emelin’s hit-from-behind on Dallas’s Jason Spezza – Emelin was ejected from the game for the hit, while Kesler wasn’t penalized at all.)
One Canucks player won’t be too pleased with the NHL’s sanctioning of the Kesler hit – his former captain, Henrik Sedin.
“We all saw the replay. I thought it was going to be a five-minute call. That’s what we all thought on the bench… If the refs miss it, that’s going to happen, but the league is going to have to take care of this because it’s a dirty play. It shouldn’t be a part of hockey.” (via The Province)
From the video below and image, it’s unclear whether Kesler raised his elbow to pop Dorsett or whether he was intending to hit him with his shoulder. You can definitely see, in the top shot corner of the photo above, that Kesler’s elbow did make contact with Dorsett’s head, maybe initially but certainly on the follow-through. It does appear both the shoulder and elbow make contact with Dorsett’s head.
The Canucks grinder, who has been a vibrant addition to Vancouver’s lineup this season, was absent from Wednesday morning’s practice and missed the rest of last night’s game with a termed ‘upper body injury’.
“I haven’t seen it yet,” Kesler told reporters last night. “All I know is, I was going for the puck and I felt him hit… I hope he’s all right. It’s unfortunate. It’s a fast game out there. I was just going for the puck, trying to make a hockey play.”
Read: Ducks shut out Canucks 4-0 in Vancouver by Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press (Jan. 27, 2015)
Of course, suspension or no, it doesn’t take away from last night’s result.
The Canucks were locked up, quarantined, and controlled in an almost embarrassingly subtle, easy, and quiet way by the Ducks on Tuesday night.
Vancouver put just 17 shots to Anaheim goalie Frederik Andersen, who has taken over the reigns for the NHL’s (current) best team this season, after it was believed he’d be in a dogfight with rookie John Gibson over crease time.
“We just want to go with the same pace we have been and keep showing we are among the very best teams in this league,” Andersen said, post-game. “It’s the second half now and we just want to continue that on and keep playing the way we have been and keep shutting teams out and keep playing that good defensive game.”
VIDEO: Ryan Kesler hit on Derek Dorsett (Jan. 27, 2015)