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Blues Vs. Kings, 2012 NHL Playoffs Game 1: NHL's Explanation For Penalty On Alex Pietrangelo Hit

Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports on the official NHL explanation for the two minute minor boarding penalty given to Dwight King after the hit on Alex Pietrangelo. Firstly, here’s the hit:

Secondly, here’s the quote from Kay Whitmore, supervisor of officiating for this series:

Question: What did the officials see on Dwight King’s hit and what went into the decision to give King a 2-minute minor?

Whitmore: “Their judgement of the degree of violence (went into the decision) … they deemed it a minor penalty and that’s why they called it a minor. It’s their judgement. They see the whole play unfold and they didn’t deem in this instance obviously that King drove (Pietrangelo) into the boards. It was a hit, he was in a vulnerable position, but they didn’t deem it violent enough to call a major.”

Question: As far as the aftermath, Pietrangelo being cut, did that warrant a 5-minute major?

Whitmore: “In these situations, if a player is cut to the face, and it’s visible right away, instantly, they’ll call a major … in most cases. In this case, they didn’t see the cut, the small cut, under his chin from what I’ve been told until up to a minute or so after when they were over by the bench. So it was a delay, a period of time that went by, and it’s tough for them to go over and say, ‘It’s a major now’ … because they didn’t see it after the scrum. He got off the ice. There was no visible blood. If it was running down his forehead or his cheek, it’s automatic. It’s a major game-misconduct. In this instance, they didn’t see it initially right away. They didn’t see the blood running down his chin, in his beard … one of those things.”

Not much time had passed between the initial call and the refs noticing the blood running down Pietrangelo’s throat. It wasn’t on his chin by that point — it was completely running straight down his throat. It was obvious, and the refs had time to amend the clock to reflect a greater penalty. Play had not started yet, giving the refs ample time to adjust the call.

Also, if they didn’t believe that King drove Pietrangelo into the boards, they weren’t watching the play — just like they weren’t watching when Colin Frasier received a high stick that drew blood from T.J. Oshie (the linesmen had to inform the refs of the hit), and just like when ref Stephen Walkmon didn’t notice Raffi Torres’ hit on Marian Hossa in the previous round.

This explanation won’t do anything to stop Blues’ fans from being upset about this hit; it’s empty, and those are words of someone who wasn’t aware of the hit to begin with and is just relying on what the refs did to explain away what the refs did. Those kind of circles of thought don’t work well.