The National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety has issued yet another suspension in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs and once again it comes as the result of a blow to the head of an opposing player.
The NHL's Department of Player Safety has announced that they have issued a one game suspension to 23-year-old Winnipeg Jets' defenseman Josh Morrissey as a result of the vicious looking cross check he delivered to the head of Minnesota Wild veteran forward Eric Staal in Game 4 of their first round match up in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It was a blow that caused a great deal of controversy last night as members of the Wild were quite vocal about the officiating after the game, perhaps no one more vocal than Wild head coach Bruce Bodureau.
The Wild were on the power play with a little over 3 minutes left in the very first period of Game 4 when seemingly out of nowhere Morrissey chopped down Staal with a nasty cross check to the head and neck, a blow that knocked Staal down to the ice. The big Wild forward was down on the ice for several long seconds during what the Wild clearly felt should have been a 5 on 3 advantage for their side. Once Staal got up it was obvious that he was not all there and that burned even more time off the Wild power play, meanwhile the infraction against Morrissey was never called by the officials.
After the game Staal himself made it clear that he thought the lack of a call on the play was ridiculous.
“I’m the tallest guy in the ice, he cross-checked me right in the neck,” Staal said as per Minnesota Hockey Mag. “There’s not much more you can say, everyone saw it. I don’t know how no one with stripes saw it but that is what it is.”
There were many who felt that the lack of a call was the result of the fact that the Wild were already on the power play, but when you consider how long Staal was knocked out of the play as a result of the hit, you can easily see why the Wild were frustrated. Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau went so far as to say that he felt the lack of a call cost them the game.
"Boudreau says missed call on Morrissey crosscheck cost the Wild the game," said TSN insider Darren Dreger.
For Boudreau though it wasn't just the fact that the Wild weren't awarded a 5 on 3, but also the fact that he felt Morrissey should have been ejected from the game for that kind of hit to the head.
“Nino has a breakaway, it’s Morrissey that breaks it up,” Boudreau said. “He should be out of the game. I’m still a little heated about it but I’ve got to watch what I say. But they were looking right at it and they told us they didn’t see it so you make up your minds.”
It seems that the NHL agrees with that assessment because they have suspended Morrissey for one game. For a full break down of their decision check out the video below.