Before the Bruins “Meltdown in Manhattan” hit high gear last night another hit went down inside MSG. During the second period our boy David Pastrnak came clean through center ice and popped New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi like a special teamer ignoring a fair catch call. It was a pretty good shot that has landed Pastrnak a hearing tomorrow with the NHL to determine his fate. Now the debate ensues; will Pasta get suspended for this play?
Boy, this is a tough one to call. Not just because of the hit itself but also due to the culture of hitting in the NHL today. Most of us still picture Pastrnak as the 138 lb. Bambi he was in his rookie season. But he’s getting bigger and stronger, and after 100+ games in the NHL he knows his way around the big boy’s ice pretty well. He knows what flies and what doesn’t.
So what don’t we like about this? Well, mainly that Pasta goes high. Whether you think it’s a true headshot or that contact is made closer to Dan Girardi’s chest and it follows through up into his face, Pasta aimed high. It’s really the only thing I don’t care for on this play. I’d much rather see him stay compact and hit Girardi dead center chest that way I don’t have to write this blog. Even a classic Teddy Bruschi form tackle would have satisfied me.
In Pastrnak’s defense it is pretty much a bang-bang play. There isn’t a ton of time to decide if it’s going to be a kill shot or not. And even though his right skate comes up off the ice, his left skate is snowplowing in a stopping motion before it comes off the ice upon contact. He doesn’t torpedo launch or even injure Girardi. Couple that with no history of being a scum bag, or ever body checking anyone for that matter, and I think #88 might have avoided the long arm of the law here. But again with the culture of the NHL today, and how they’re so inconsistent with rulings on these things, maybe they skip the fine and send him right to the lock up for 2-3 games.
What do you think? I just know for me it’s pretty wild to think the days of Scott Stevens decapitations used to be the norm.