With all of the extra-curricular activity that took place after yesterday’s 2-1 OT victory, the fact that Shawn Horcoff was injured late in the game might have slipped your mind.
Horcoff was decked by Shane Doan with less than two minutes to play. Horcoff was face down for about five seconds, then got up and skated off. He didn’t return, and he’ll miss at least tonight’s game with what’s being called a “strained neck”.
Let’s have a look at the hit in question.
This all starts as the play rushes back towards the Edmonton zone. Corey Potter had just snapped his stick, and now Sam Gagner is chasing after the puck with Phoenix’s Nick Johnson. Johnson and Gagner collide, and the ref raises his arm up on a delayed call
…interestingly, the call goes against Gagner. Moving along.
Ryan Whitney chops at the puck, which slides under Gagner and Johnson. At no time does Horcoff touch the puck.
At this point, Shane Doan hits Shawn Horcoff from behind.. I’ll give Doan the benefit of the doubt and say that Horcoff probably saw the puck go by him before he got clocked, but Horcoff hadn’t become part of the play yet. He surely didn’t touch the puck.
And so it goes.
From the NHL rulebook – Rule 56.1, Interference and Possession of the Puck-
Possession of the Puck: The last player to touch the puck, other than the goalkeeper, shall be considered the player in possession. The player deemed in possession of the puck may be checked legally, provided the check is rendered immediately following his loss of possession.
Two problems with this incident.
- Horcoff wasn’t a part of the play, he didn’t touch the puck. That’s basic interference.
- Doan hit Horcoff from a vulerable position. Numbers = stop sign. If Doan clocked Horcoff into the boards like this, you can be certain that everyone would be up in arms about how irresponsible a hit it would’ve been.
At the very least, it’s interference. Without fully knowing how Horcoff is feeling in a week, it could end up being a lot worse than we know.
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