You have to wonder if this won't be getting reviewed by the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety when you consider that they have already cracked down quite hard on hits to the head in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
On Tuesday night the Minnesota Wild were facing off against the Winnipeg Jets in Game 4 of their first round playoff series, it was a hugely important for the Wild who needed a win at home to tie up the series at 2 games a piece. Unfortunately for the Wild they entered the game with significant injuries to both star forward Zach Parise and star defenseman Ryan Suter, making this an uphill battle from the very start.
Things got even worse for the Wild early on when another one of their top players was shaken up after taking a brutal cheap shot to the head in the final minutes of the game's very first period. Minnesota Wild forward Eric Staal was standing in front of the Winnipeg Jets net when seemingly out of nowhere he was struck by a vicious cross check to the head.
The blow came courtesy of Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey and while you would like to give Morrissey the benefit of the doubt on this play, it's pretty difficult to do so. Morrissey may have been merely trying to cross check Staal in the shoulder or body in order to gain position in front of the net, but the reality of the situation is that his stick caught Stall directly in the side of the head.
The Wild's home crowd at the Xcel Energy Center erupted in a chorus of boos as Staal collapsed to the ice, and the boos only got increasingly louder as they realized that there would be no call on the play. Not only was there no call on the play, but the whistle was never blown during what was a power play for the Wild despite the fact that the Wild had control of the puck in the offensive zone. This resulted in the Wild wasting several seconds of their power play playing what was effectively 4 on 4 hockey.
Staal stayed down on the ice for several long moments, and even when he got back up it was only on one knee. Staal then struggled to get up from that position as well but he would eventually regain his feet, and it was at that moment that you knew that the National Hockey League veteran had been seriously rocked. Staal was barely moving on the ice and appeared stiff as a board, he halfheartedly turned to follow the play as he stood still in the middle of the ice before he eventually returned to the Wild bench.
Even back on the bench he kept his head down for several long moments and appeared to be out of it as coaches and trainers tried to tend to him. It's honestly quite surprising that the National Hockey League's concussion spotters didn't consider pulling him out of the game entirely at this point.
The fact that there was no call on the play, as well as the fact that it was a clear blow to the head and one delivered with a stick leads me to believe that Josh Morrissey may have a hearing in the coming days.