The Pittsburgh Penguins may soon be dealing with an early season suspension.
According to an announcement made by the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety, Penguins forward Jared McCann will have a hearing on Sunday following the Saturday night matchup between the aforementioned Penguins and their interstate rivals the Philadelphia Flyers. This of course does not mean that McCann will in fact be suspended but only that the possibility now exists, although I suspect given the infraction that this will in fact lead to a suspension.
The incident that is being reviewed occurred with roughly 5 minutes left on the clock during the game's second period, and it is there that McCann can be seen delivering what is a pretty blatant elbow to the head of Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim. Sanheim was deep in his own zone and was attempting to move the puck up the ice when McCann delivered the elbow, and to be it looks very much like a case of a player making a very bad judgement on where his opponent's body was going to be.
If Sanheim skates a step before making the pass, or even if he simply allows his momentum to carry him forward while making the pass, McCann would have lined him up perfectly for the hit. Instead Sanheim, wisely, did neither of those however and I believe this forced McCann to adjust on the fly, which resulted in him making the ill-advised decision to reach out with his arm in an attempt to still make contact with the Flyers defenseman.
I may be giving McCann too much credit here but that is how I see this one, and I suspect that the NHL's Department of Player Safety will see something similar as well. McCann was penalized during the game for this play, he received a 2 minute minor for the infraction, but given the NHL's focus on blows to the head in recent years I am not surprised to learn he will face additional discipline. Given the league's aggressive policing of head shots I suspect that he will in fact be suspended but in light of the circumstances I believe it will be a short one, something in the neighborhood of just 1 or 2 games.