The Chicago Blackhawks may find themselves down a man for Game 2 of their Qualifying Round series against the Edmonton Oilers.
The National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety has just announced that Blackhawks forward Drake Caggiula will have a hearing on Sunday, and usually hearings with the Department of Player Safety, especially in the playoffs, are not a good sign. The hearing will come as a result of the "Illegal Check to the Head" of Edmonton Oilers forward Tyler Ennis, a moment of great frustration during the game for fans of the Oilers.
It would have been bad enough had Ennis been the victim of a mere hit to the head but not only did the Oilers see one of their own take a high hit, the player on the receiving end of the hit was then called for a penalty. The NHL officials on the ice ruled that Ennis had actually been the one to interfere with the aforementioned Caggiula, this after he had in fact been the victim of a blow to the head or chin. This would result in the Oilers giving up a man advantage to the Blackhawks, and to make matters worse Ennis would be forced to retreat to the dressing room following the hit from Caggiula.
It seems however that the league has seen what the officials on the ice did not, and although this will no doubt now turn into a frustrating situation for fans in Chicago, I do believe there is a wrong that should be made right here. I would be stunned however if Caggiula ended up with anything more than a single game here, the blow itself was not a particularly vicious one and the NHL has made it clear that it considers the Qualifying Round part of the playoffs. As a general rule the league tends to count every playoff game as an equivalent to 2 regular season games when it comes to the suspensions handed out by the Department of Player Safety, so anything beyond a single game in the playoffs is usually reserved for a particularly egregious infraction or for repeat offenders.
Stay tuned for more.