It's only Game 1 of the playoffs but we may already have a significant injured, and we have a game misconduct to pair along with it.
The Washington Capitals are facing off against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1 of their first round match up in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs and we started off the first period with relatively little action in terms of offense for both sides. The first period had nearly expired with neither team managing to record a single goal when we got our first big highlight of the night. Unfortunately for everyone involved it's not the kind of highlight you want to see as it involved a player being seriously shaken up on the play, and there are even reports that he may have been bleeding from his head.
With roughly just two minutes left to play in the first period 23-year-old Columbus Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson delivered a hard hit to 27-year-old Washington Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny. It was a hit that immediately got the referee's arm up in the air, but more importantly for the Capitals it was a hit that left Michal Kempny rocked and down on the ice.
The hit didn't look particularly dirty, Anderson did deliver a shoulder to shoulder hit to Kempny, but he was called for boarding and that does seem to be an appropriate penalty here from the National Hockey League officials who were on the ice making the call. However Anderson was not given the 2 minutes minor penalty variety but was instead assessed a 5 minute major for the hit, and this has caused some debate. Some feel the 5 minute major was warranted while others believe that merely a 2 minute penalty would have been more appropriate to call on this play.
That being said the officials called what they felt was appropriate and as a result Anderson was off to the box with a 5 minute major, that is until the NHL's officials spotted an injury to the face or head of Kempny. The cameras did not provide us with an angle that allowed us to see what exactly happened to Kempny but he was holding a towel over his face as he left the ice, and Anderson was then awarded a game misconduct for the hit.
As per NHL rules if a player suffers a facial or head injury on a 5 minute boarding major, a game misconduct is automatically assessed on top of the major that the offending player has already received. As a result that was the end of the night for the young Blue Jackets forward, a tough way to go out of Game 1 in a very important playoff series for your team.
Even if you don't agree with the 5 minute major, the game misconduct appears to have been a "fair" decision in the end because Michal Kempny has not returned to the game since taking the hit. While he has not been officially ruled out of tonight's game, the fact that he has not yet returned would appear to indicate that he will also sit out at least 1 game.
Hopefully he's going to be ok.