NHL Playoffs 2012: Arron Asham Could Be Suspended for Cross-Check

Jason SapunkaCorrespondent IIApril 15, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 15: Arron Asham #45 of the Pittsburgh Penguins gets a match penalty for high sticking Brayden Schenn #10 of the Philadelphia Flyers in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on April 15, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

A frustrated Pittsburgh Penguins team on the verge of going down 3-0 in the first round of the 2012 NHL Playoffs against the Philadelphia Flyers showed their anger in the first period on Sunday afternoon.

Initially, a mini-brawl involving Claude Giroux and Sidney Crosby showed the Penguins' ire, but Arron Asham took it much further just minutes later.

Pittsburgh's Paul Martin was facing his own zone as he went towards the puck along the boards to his left. He played the puck, turned up-ice and was leveled by Brayden Schenn.

Schenn hit Martin in the chest with his left shoulder in what was absolutely a clean hit. Schenn did not target the head or jump and he only took two strides before the hit, but was called for charging.

Immediately after the hit, Penguins tough guy Arron Asham skated to Schenn and delivered a cross-check to the chest, following through towards Schenn's head and hitting him in the throat.

Asham is the same player who went after Schenn during a line brawl in the regular season.

Schenn went down to the ice and appeared hurt, but was back on the ice shortly after.

Asham received a five-minute major and match penalty.

NHL.com's Dan Rosen writes that "According to Rule 21.2 [regarding match penalties], in addition to the match penalty Asham is automatically suspended until the commissioner rules on the issue."

The severity and intent to injure involved in this cross-check could catch the attention of the NHL's Department of Player Safety.

However, the league made a very questionable decision when it fined Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators $2,500 for an end-of-game cheap shot on Henrik Zetterberg of the Detroit Red Wings.

Weber was not suspended for his blatant cheap shot. It will be interesting to see if Asham is.



Jason Sapunka covers the NHL and Philadelphia Flyers. He is available on Twitter for updates, analysis and commentary.