The NHL Department of Player Safety spoke to Oilers winger Evander Kane about his hit which injured the Wild’s Jonas Brodin, but he will not be suspended.
The Oilers and their fans must have feared the worst, following a controversial hit by Evander Kane during Friday night’s game versus the Wild. However, he has managed to escape punishment, receiving no more than a warning from the NHL Department of Player Safety.
With credit to Aleena Aksenchuk of OilersNation, the news was reported by Mark Spector of Sportsnet. Spector confirmed the NHL Department of Player Safety spoke to Kane and Oilers general manager Ken Holland on Saturday, but no suspension was forthcoming.
The hit in question came early in the third period, when Kane blasted Jonas Brodin from behind. It looked like a reckless hit from the winger, which sent his opponent crashing into the boards.
Bad break for the Wild
Brodin had to leave the game as a result and, as per Josh Gold-Smith of the Score, he has subsequently been listed as week-to-week. He is expected to miss significant time with an upper-body injury.
This is a big blow for the Wild, to lose their top pairing defenceman, who has been one of the NHL’s top blue liners so far this season. Among other things, he leads the team in average ice time and is tied first with a +7 plus/minus rating.
At the time of the hit, Kane did not receive a penalty. Adding insult to injury, the Wild’s Ryan Hartman was penalized soon after for roughing, as a result of going after the polarizing Oilers player.
To make matters even worse, the Oilers scored on the subsequent power play. The goal proved to be the difference, in a 4-3 win over the Wild.
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Following the game, Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch was asked if he was concerned Kane was going to get a penalty after the hit. Speaking to the media, he said:
"“(Brodin’s) right against the boards. (Kane’s) hit him hard and he went down, but in my opinion — and obviously the opposition probably has a different perspective on that — I don’t know. I didn’t think so."
In fairness to Knoblauch, he wanted to be careful and deliberate with how he responded, something which he’s renowned for doing generally anyway. In addition, he might not yet have had time to review the hit properly anyway.
Kane defends himself
As for Kane, a day later he was of the opinion there was nothing wrong with his hit. Speaking to the media on Saturday, he said:
"“I don’t think I drove him in the numbers. I kind of hit him on the side … I don’t know how other people or other players play the game. I know if that’s me going back, I’m going to be a little bit more aware and brace myself. At the same time it’s unfortunate he got hurt, that’s definitely not the intent. But it was a chipped in puck, finish your check and unfortunately he got hurt.”"
Kane is always going to be the type of player who agitates people, although in our opinion there was no malicious intent in this particular hit, although the aesthetics certainly looked bad. He’s one of the game’s most physical forwards, often playing on the edge of what is and isn’t acceptable.
It would have been entirely understandable if George Parros and company had decided to suspend, or at least fine the 2009 fourth overall draft pick. Instead, it’s the Wild who suffer the consequences of the incident.
The Wild are considered somewhat of a bogey team for the Oilers, but for once, the shoe (skate) was on the other foot. In any event, the two teams are set to renew hostilities on Feb. 23 in Edmonton, a date which you might want to circle the game on your calendar.