Will blindside hit exculpate Cammalleri?

The NHL’s new rule on blindside hits may get a bit of a workout in connection with Mike Cammalleri’s slash on the Islanders Nino Niederreither (video) during last night’s presesaon game in Quebec City.

Cammalleri got five for slashing and a game misconduct and supplemental discipline is certainly a possibility. But what led to his attack was this hit by the Islander rookie (video — it’s quick and you’ll have to replay it a few times) which is clearly a blindside hit.

The question for the league’s Hockey Operations Department on this one will be whether Niederreither targeted Cammalleri’s head. The new rule reads:

“A lateral, back pressure or blindside hit to an opponent where the head
is targeted and/or is the principal point of contact is not permitted. There is no provision for a minor penalty under this rule. For a
violation of this rule a major penalty shall be assessed. An automatic
game misconduct penalty shall be assessed whenever a major penalty is
assessed under this rule.”

Looking at the video, a case can be made that contact was shoulder to shoulder from behind. A case can also be made that the head was targeted, even though it wasn’t the principal point of contact.

But even if Colin Campbell and his staff decide Niederreither did target Cammalleri’s head, the retaliation may still cause some sort of disciplinary action, although it might be softened if the league decides Cammalleri had some justification for his reaction.

The Gazette’s Pat Hickey quoted Jacques Martin saying, “I think Cammy was reacting to being blindsided on
the play before that,” Martin said. “I’m sure when the league reviews
the incident, they’ll look at that part.”

Thanks to Paul Kukla of Kukla’s Krorner and Sean Leahy of Yahoo’s Puck Daddy for the videos.

Leahy writes: “During the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs, Cammalleri escaped suspension after
he smacked
then-Chicago Blackhawk Martin Havlat 
in the head after a face-off because, according to the NHL, he was not a
repeat offender. Now with no “Get Out of Jail” free cards to use, it’s
likely Cammalleri will face a ban of a game or two to begin the season.” Cammalleri was with the Flames at the time.

Leahy also had video of Rangers Derek Boogaard spearing the Senators Chris Neal last night. Boogaard got five and a game and he’s likely to hear from Hockey Ops as well.

Sunday Reading: Here’s Pat Hickey’s Gazette story on the rally in Quebec yesterday which drew tens of thousands and a handful of former Nordiques heroes in support of a new arena that would theoretically bring an NHL team back to the provincial capital.

Hickey writes, “The province of Quebec and the city have pledged
money to the project, but the federal government is seen as a villain in
these parts because Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said there will
be no money from Ottawa unless there is a significant contribution from
the private sector. Opposition to the funding in media and political
circles outside Quebec has been categorized as Quebec-bashing.
The new arena is budgeted at $400 million and
Quebec is committed to pay 50 per cent of that, while the city of Quebec
has pledged $50 million.”

From yesterday’s Globe and Mail, Roy MacGregor had a strong piece on how CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada has lost its way, writing, ” The game invariably takes a back seat to the Don Cherry-Ron MacLean
Grand Entry, to the ramblings of the Coach’s Corner segment in the first
intermission and to the views of new additions to the show who often
seem so stuck in the game’s past that, unbelievably, Cherry at times
emerges as the voice of reason….

“(Cherry) seems only vaguely interested in today’s game and, despite the endless ‘I told you so’s,’ has largely lost sight of how today’s game is played.
His sermons on kids getting themselves and their sticks out of the way
of shots is now ancient strategy, today’s defensive game all about shot
blocking, the goaltender often the last to see the puck….

“Recent additions such as Mike Milbury – Don Cherry on training wheels –
and the excitable P.J. Stock seem more out of the last century than this

The Globe and Mail’s Bruce Dowbiggin had a companion piece in which he talks with former HNIC producers Ralph Mellanby and John Shannon.

In today’s New York Post, Larry Brooks writes, “The Islanders are making a mockery of the spirit
of the Collective Bargaining Agreement-mandated payroll floor and the
concept of competitive balance by using the $6,088,400 in buyout
chargers for Alexei Yashin and Brendan Witt to reach this year’s floor
of $43.4 million, yet nobody but nobody seems to be rushing to charge
Charles Wang and Garth Snow with circumvention...

“While the Islanders are compliant with the
letter of the CBA, they are violating the spirit of the CBA by using
those payouts to chin up over the $43.4 million bar by maybe a couple of
million bucks.

“They are flaunting the spirit of competitive
balance by presenting a roster that will account for perhaps $39 million
in payroll — and it will be that high only if the entry level guys on
the club reach their ultimate performance bonus numbers.

“And that
number includes Mark Streit’s $4.1 million the defenseman will receive
while on IR for the next four to six months.”

In The Boston Globe, Fluto Shinzawa writes the weekly hockey column while Kevin Paul Dupont is with the team in Europe. Lots of stuff there, including the lead item on the B’s stocking up on former U.S. college defensemen.
Bruce Garrioch’s Ottawa Sun notes column includes items on Ruslan Fedotenko’s good training camp with the Rangers, the Bruins wanting to get sign Zdeno Chara to a contract extension and this from an unnamed NHL exec on Sheldon Souray, who cleared waivers last week: “There is no way I would touch him without seeing him play. Even on
re-entry waivers, it’s a two-year commitment and a lot of money ($4.5
In The Chicago Tribune, Chris Kuc writes about the challenges faced by the Blackhawks repeating as champions and quotes Scotty Bowman saying “”A lot of it teams can’t stand pat like they used to. In the 1970s and 80s you could hold onto
all your players and now you can’t. You hope that new guys coming in can
feel the excitement of the holdover players. There’s not a written
formula how to do it.”


  1. HugeHabsFan says:

    Alright, I’ll give ya the height thing… as I’m looking at my photo with me beside him – he’s definitely taller than me.  But he still shouldn’t be fighting Bugs, sorry.

    No need to get so defensive – I’m on your side. :o)

    ……….. “Thank you Cammy for making my day even more amazing!” I STILL BELIEVE. I WILL ALWAYS BELIEVE. Cammalleri: “I almost feel bad for a guy who plays an NHL career without experiencing what it’s like to be a Montreal Canadien”.

  2. Lazarus_taxa says:

    Are you serious?  Rookies drop the gloves all the time to prove themselves!   You are saying that this scenario was cammy getting pissed, and Nino showing soooooo much rookie respect that he would not drop the gloves.  So the attempt to injure… that’s respect?  Alleged racist comments to Nazim Kadri at the WJC… that’s resect?  Wow I must be missing something.

  3. Storm Man says:

    If I hit you with something relevent as you put it. I would guess you would wake up 10 years from now. Anyone can say hey look at me I went 13-2 on my NFL picks, anyways stick with cartoons more your speed.

  4. K-hab25 says:

    Come on bro, I’ve been booted twice. I was 3 years ago I was originally kjdavid, then I got into with the infamous courneyer 12 one to many times and we both got booted. Man I hated that guy. Then I was KJD, but a night of heavy drinking, mixed with Yeats influence and I got bounced again. This time I told myself, no posting after losses, unless I didn’t drink. My construction worker mouth and short fuse, don’t go over well in the passive behind a desk all day world that is the typical HIO poster. So come on, just list what bands the everlasting 1 enjoys then. :-)

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