Hansen suspended one game for hit on Hossa

Hansen suspended one game for hit on Hossa

February 20, 2013, 7:30 pm
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Did the NHL get Jannik Hansen's suspension right?

Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville used measured words when asked his thoughts on Vancouver forward Jannik Hansen’s forearm to the back of Marian Hossa’s head on Tuesday night.

“I think everybody saw it, everybody can have their own opinion,” he said after the game. “I’ll let the people who do that stuff do their job.”

On Wednesday, those people did.

Hansen was suspended one game by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for his forearm to the back of Hossa’s head in the Blackhawks’ 4-3 shootout victory on Tuesday. Under the terms of the CBA, based on his average annual salary, Hansen will forfeit $7,297.30. That money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Hansen will sit out the Canucks’ game at the Dallas Stars on Thursday night. On Tuesday, Hansen told reporters that he and Hossa were “just going for the puck, and we ran into each other.” In his video explanation of Hansen’s hit, director of player safety Brendan Shanahan acknowledged that “while may be true (Hansen) initially reaches up to play the puck in the air, he changes the position of his arm and delivers a sharp, careless forearm to the back of Hossa’s head.”

Shanahan continued, saying, “although it’s true both players initially have hands open as the puck approaches, Hossa maintains an open palm throughout. Hansen, on the other hand, has closed his hand and has a closed fist. He also doesn’t extend his arm until after Hossa made contact with the puck. While all of this occurs in a split second, we feel the carelessness and force with which the blow was delivered elevates this incident to the level of supplemental discipline.”

Shanahan noted that a roughing penalty was called on the play, that Hossa suffered an injury --  he was down several moments, got up with the help of trainers and went to the locker room -- and that Hansen had no history of supplemental discipline in his four-year career.

Now the concern shifts back to Hossa and his health. The right wing had a long road back from the concussion he suffered when Phoenix forward Raffi Torres landed an elbow to his head last April. Hossa was cleared in November but, thanks to the lockout, had even more time to rest, recover and get back into shape for the season. He was off to a great start and scored his seventh and eighth goals of the season in the second period.

The good news out of Tuesday was Quenneville said Hossa “seemed OK” after the game. Hossa did not have to go to the hospital, as he did after that awful hit in April. Still, the concern factor is there whenever a player suffers a concussion, and it only heightens if he suffers more. The Blackhawks will be sure to watch Hossa carefully.

“There’s a major concern,” Quenneville said regarding Hossa. “So hopefully he’s OK.”