This is the last thing you want to see if you are the Montreal Canadiens.
Video has emerged of the matchup between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and one of the clips shows a punishing hit delivered by Colin Theisen of Notre Dame to Cole Caufield of the Wisconsin Badgers. The hit appears to come pretty late, Caufield originally has the puck but appears to have fired it well before the hit comes in, and there's no question that it caught Caufield completely off guard.
Caufield, rated by many as the Canadiens top forward prospect, was as a result laid out on the ice following the hit and appeared to be completely out of it. Unfortunately we don't have much of a replay given that this is NCAA hockey, however from what little we can see Caufield is barely moving on the ice before the camera eventually cuts away.
It's always tough to make a judgement call on a hit when you only have one available angle, but I do suspect from what we can see that this is indeed a dirty hit on the part of Theisen. As one fan pointed out you can see that Theisen has enough time to make an adjustment once Caufield has fired the puck, but the Notre Dame forward is set in his trajectory well before then and never makes any attempt to let off despite the puck being long gone.
This becomes especially frustrating when you weigh in the fact that Theisen is 23 years old and remains undrafted, which makes it very unlikely that he will ever make his mark in professional hockey at this stage of his career. The hit becomes that much worse when you consider that face due entirely to the fact that it does look like Caufield has a future ahead of him in the NHL.
Caufield is currently in the midst of his second season with the University of Wisconsin where he competes in the NCAA's Big Ten division, and was of course the 15th overall pick at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft where the Habs selected him in the first round.