Fancy that! Edmonton Oilers ace Draisaitl deserves suspension, agree Canucks, Kings & Flames pundits

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There is wide agreement among podcasters, pundits and bloggers of the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings that Edmonton Oilers ace Leon Draisaitl deserves a suspension for his hit in Florida Panthers centre Aleksander Barkov.

Who would have guessed?

But the Draisaitl hit was just one of numerous controversial moments involving National Hockey League referees during Monday night’s 4-1 Panthers win over the Oilers.

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Here are some of the highlights and lowlights, with reaction on social and mainstream media:

Veteran NHL writer Ken Campbell @Ken_Campbell27:
Game 2 saw a couple of blatant headshots, interference, a kneeing major, a stick to the junk and a player tapping out because he’s being choked. What a showcase for a beautiful game.

The Warren Foegele knee-on-knee collision

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ESPN hockey writer Greg Wyshynski @wyshynski:

Coach Kris Knoblauch said he didn’t see much difference between Warren Foegele’s kneeing major and the hit Bennett had on Bouchard earlier — except one thing. “I see Bouchard got up right away. Their guy didn’t get up right away, which I think … yeah, so that’s what I think.”

Sportsnet’s Kevin Bieksa:
I wouldn’t call that a five in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals.. It is a knee, but it’s a two (minute penalty). I do think Luostarinen is trying to avoid him so he’s kind of part of it. Luostarinen, he’s on the ice for a bit. He’s also out the next shift. I don’t know if it’s a sell job or not.

Ekblad’s chokehold on Evan Bouchard

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Oilers fan Cait @lime_green:

Hey NHL Player Safety! Bouchard was choked out mid game. Sportsnet has the vid in case you need it. I know you’d prefer it if he flopped to the ground and rolled around a bit first, but that wasn’t possible with him being held by the throat and all. Just wondering if you saw?

Veteran NHL writer Ken Campbell @Ken_Campbell27:
One of the great things about last night’s game was the lovely hue of red Evan Bouchard’s face turned while Aaron Ekblad was choking him… Complete sarcasm.

Oilers fan Tyson Munro @Tys35:
I still can’t get over this. You wanna talk about getting head injuries out of the game? Imagine Bouchard passes out and goes limp here. Nothing about this is a hockey play.

Florida podcaster Kirby Lupul @KJ_Lups:
Maybe 🤔 Aaron Ekblad was hanging out with (former NHLer Shawn Thornton) this week and got a quick MMA lesson (as he would train back in his playing days). The Ekblad tap out on Evan Bouchard has been one of my fav memories of this Panthers run.

Former NHL Jason Demers @jasondemers5:
Is this something that could be sent into the league just asking for a friend? Is it suspendable, Tim Peel?

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Former referee Tim Peel @TimCPeel20:
Agree it’s not a good look but not something NHL Player Safety would get involved in.

Oilers fan JESSE @97OrangeCrush29:
How in the hell does #Panthers get zero call from this choke hold for 15 seconds straight!!
Dont ever whine about Draisaitl again. It’s coming home to Edmonton, the loudest fans in NHL. We will deal w/ Ekblad Tkachuk and Bennett ourselves.

Florida’s Eetu Luostarinen shooting the puck into the stands below his own blueline

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Sportsnet’s Chris Cuthbert
That’s clearly on the defensive zone side. That should be a two-minute penalty and a 5-on-3 for Edmonton. Are they going to get the call?

Sportsnet’s Ron MacLean:
It should have been a penalty.

Former NHL ref Dave Jackson @ESPNRefNHL:
To help clarify any confusion, a puck that is still in contact with the blade of the stick when it breaks the plane, is not a penalty. The rule book does not mention initial contact with the puck. Refs got the call right… If a player takes a wrist shot for example, his initial contact and final point of contact can span 4′. It’s the same principle as icing, “where is the puck released?”

TSN columnist Travis Yost @travisyost:
Always enjoy when an NHL rules export joins one of the broadcasts. Do they have special access to a secret rulebook that actually defines how these games are officiated or what

Former NHL ref Tim Peel @TimCPeel20:
Trying to be objective here but blaming the refs in my opinion is the easy way out! Your team has scored 1 goal in 2 games.

Tim Peel @TimCPeel20, message to Sportsnet:
It is important that the correct information is given to you, especially on National Telecast’s in Canada. You were told last night the determining factor for puck over the glass is when contact is made. That is incorrect, it is when the puck is released. ⁦⁦

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Draisaitl hit on Barkov

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L.A. Kings podcasters The Bannermen @TheBannermenPod:
Curious to see if the league has the stones to suspend Draisaitl. The hit checks every box for a one game suspension.

Draisaitl on the hit: 
I don’t think that’s frustration. It was just a hit. I don’t think there’s anything dirty about it. Maybe I got him a little high. Certainly not with intent to injure, though, or anything like that.

Connor McDavid:
I thought it was part of the game.

Canucks commentator BuckFoston @BuckFoston_:
This dirty play should earn Draisaitl at least a two game suspension. But I have more faith in Drance’s remote connection not disconnecting than I do in the NHL DOPS.

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Oilers fan Captain Jack:
Wait a minute. THIS is the Draisaitl hit everyone’s talking about? This is a 2 minute penalty max. I love that we are growing the game but how many casuals are actually thinking this is “suspension” worthy. Take the penalty call, grow up and move on.

Calgary Flames podcast In The Dome @InTheDomePod:
Left his feet & lead with his elbow to Barkov’s head as the principe point of contact, which resulted in an injury. Should be a suspension. So should the spear to the groin a few mins later. Man this team can’t handle losing.

Canucks Army blog witer Lachlan Irvine @LachInTheCrease:
This has to be worth at least a game suspension for Draisaitl. That’s some textbook intent to injure.

Los Angeles King podcaster Russell Morgan for Hockey Royalty @NHLRussell:
There’s no way Oilers fans are complaining about the officials. Imagine what would happen if McDavid got hit like Draisaitl on Barkov.

Los Angeles Kings podcaster The Mayor @mayorNHL:
Draisaitl needs a suspension

Florida coach Paul Maurice on the hit:
The league will take a look at it, They look at every hit.

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Asked how he felt about the hit, Mauice added:
This isn’t The Oprah Winfrey Show. My feelings don’t matter.

Oilers fan DougieDman @OilDoug:
Here’s the way I see it…when Bennett hit Marchand the NHL considered it payback for past transgressions so no suspension…..with Barkov and Draisaitl they could suspend cause Barkov is a Selke winner with no history…..(1/2)…but… what of Draisaitl who is a former league MVP and scoring champion and 50 goal scorer…..will he get the same benefit of the doubt as Bennett?

Veteran NHL writer Ken Campbell @Ken_Campbell27:
So now Barkov goes into concussion protocol and could miss the rest of the game. Draisaitl serves two minutes and gets out. This is ridiculous.

Florida Panther fan Jacob Winans @JacobWinans8:
After this game that the Oilers just played, I never want to hear another word about the Panthers being a dirty team. The Oilers came out here and played the dirtiest game of any team all playoffs. And they go home down 2-0 as they deserve… I don’t want this to be taken as me wishing injury on anyone. But the Panthers have players who can absolutely end Draisaitl’s series if Player Safety doesn’t dish out the proper punishment. Do the right thing and don’t let this devolve into something that isn’t hockey.

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Panthers fan Adam Reid @AdamReid_:
Now we focus on Sasha Barkov and hope it isn’t a concussion. We can’t lose him. I hope Leon Draisaitl’s sticks break on every shot he takes from here on out. That was dirty, as he left his feet to elbow Barkov in the head.

Hockey commentator P.K. Subban @PKSubban1:
DRAI…. ELBOW RIGHT TO THE CHIN, LEFT HIS FEET…Period! No doubt about it… CRAZY SMH a minor????! Love leon but damn.

Senior hockey writer for The Athletic Mark Lazerus @MarkLazerus:
That’s a shitty call on a shitty hit. Elbow direct to the head and it’s a roughing minor. What a joke.

San Jose commentator Kevin Kurz @KKurzNHL:
If this were the regular season they could legitimately review three different plays by Edmonton for supplemental discipline

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman on the 32 Thoughts podcast:
I thought Draisaitl lost his cool there. To me, that was a frustration play. ‘We’re losing. I’m frustrated.’ He’s probably hurting too. And he made a big mistake. To me there’s no question about that… As a couple of their (Florida) players said to me, ‘If it was the other way around, and that was McDavid or Draisaitl got hit that way, they’d be arresting us at the border.’

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Hockey writer David Pagnotta @TheFourthPeriod:
It doesn’t sound like we’ll see any significant discipline coming for Leon Draisaitl on last night’s hit on Aleksander Barkov.

Montreal hockey commentator Renaud Lavoie @renlavoietva:
Don’t expect Leon Draisaitl to be suspended for his hit on Aleksander Barkov.

1. Foegele was going staight for the puck when he collided with Luostarinen. He did not appear to be targeting the knee, and he certainly has zero history of this kind of hit. I agree with Bieksa’s assessment that a two-minute penalty was in order. The hit was certainly no worse than Bennett’s hit earlier on Bouchard.

2. It’s hard to imagine what the referees were thinking as they saw Bouchard in the headlock from Ekblad. If you’re wondering why Bouchard had such a poor game as it went along, perhaps this helps explain why.

3. The puck left Luostarinen’s stick before it crossed the blueline, but it was a close play, it happened fast and the officials were not permitted to review videotape. It’s certainly no surprise to see the Unofficial NHL Referee’s Union stand up for the call.

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4. Draisaitl’s hit was no worse than the Ekblad chokehold that went unpunished and not nearly as bad as Sam Bennett’s targeting of Philip Broberg’s head. At least the Draisaitl hit drew a two minute penalty. The vicious flying forearm Bennett hit did not.

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At the Cult of Hockey

STAPLES: Playger grades in rough Game 2 loss to Panthers

STAPLES: Pre-game evaluation Knoblauch’s major Game 2 moves. Enough to win? 

STAPLES: Don Cherry on Edmonton Oilers Game 1 loss: “That was his greatest game”

LEAVINS: 9 Things, including a look at Knoblauch’s tough decisions for Game 2

McCURDY: Player grades for Game 1 with Broberg and Janmark grading out highest

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