Gentlemen (and ladies): Start your conspiracy theories.
The league has ruled Pacioretty commited an illegal hit to the head “in which the head was targeted as the principal point of contact.”
Unless he appeals the decision, Max-Pac will miss the Canadiens’ games in AnaheimWednesday, San Jose on Thursday and Los Angeles on Saturday. He will forfeit $ 26,351.34 in salary.
Here’s Brandan Shanhan’s explanation, with video.
“When cutting across the middle on a play like this, all players accept that a full body check may be looming,” Shanahan says. “However, what no player should expect is that his head will become the principal point of contact on a hit.”
Shanahan said the positioning of Kris Letang’s head on the play did not effect the itent of Max Pacioretty’s check.
The onus “was on Pacioretty to make sure he didn’t make Letang’s head the principal point of contact.”
While Pacioretty asserted, in his Monday morning phone conversation with Shanhan, that Letang’s leaninging into his shot changed the angle of the hit, Shanahan ruled “it is still his reponsibility to make principal contact through the core of Letang’s body.”
Instead, the NHL disciplinarian ruled, Pacioretty shifted his weight to his right leg, making Letang’s head the principal point of contact.
In levying a three-game suspension, Shanahan acknowledged Pacioretty has “no history of supplementary discipline”.
Well, until now.
And just for comparison, here’s another three-game suspension – for André Deveaux’s hit on Thomas Fleishmann.