In yet another amped up game between your Chicago Blackhawks and those Crazy Canucks, another ugly incident marred a fun and exciting game. And while the flying elbow of Jannik Hansen to the back of Marian Hossa’s head didn’t look like much, it is a hit that the NHL and Brendan Shanahan has promised to get rid of.
I don’t know Jannik Hanssen personally. He seems like a nice enough guy; apparently the first Danish born player to play in an NHL playoff game. Coming into the game he had all of two penalty minutes in the 14 games he had played. That’s Lady Byng material. But what he did early in the third period of that game should cost him some quiet time of his own.
My first reaction was to put myself in Hansen’s skates and try to figure out what I would do in the situation he was in. The puck is coming out of the Blackhawks zone, is passed in mid-air to Hossa who’s back is to me, and I have a chance to break up a play. You step into the player, bump him – create a turnover – and get going the other way. What Hansen did was stick out his elbow, deliver a blow to the back of the head of Marian Hossa, and blindside an unsuspecting opponent.
I’m not for dishing out penalties and suspensions based on the length of time that an injured player loses. I think it’s got to be about intent. Hockey is a reactionary game, decisions are made in hundredths of a second. But as a former player I know that sticking out your elbow at that moment will make contact with the back of a player’s head and the result will not be good. Hansen is not a repeat offender, but he and other’s who watch the hit have to know that doing what he did comes with a consequence. That consequence should amount to three games on the sidelines for this type of hit for Jannik Hansen.