Despite still-image and video evidence that clearly showed Max Pacioretty getting well off of the ice when he boarded Ryan McDonagh with a high head hit, he was not suspended by the NHL.
The incident in question was not a borderline play that could have gone either way, but a deliberate high head shot that Pacioretty could only make by leaving his feet.
It would have been one thing if Pacioretty was simply finishing his check, but anytime you need to leave the ice and target the head, there needs to be a form of supplemental discipline.
Here is the video of the incident, so see for yourself and make your own decision.
The Montreal Canadiens forward was penalized for boarding and McDonagh was forced to leave the game. Rumors swirled that the Blueshirts' top defenseman had a concussion.
Bad news. No confirmation from #NYR but little doubt Ryan McDonagh suffered a concussion.— Andrew Gross (@AGrossRecord) February 24, 2013
If you still are on the fence, here is a still image that clearly displays Pacioretty in midair targeting McDonagh's head as the principal point of contact.
It is a clear violation of rule 48.1 and something that should have earned him a multi-game suspension.
The NHL's decision, despite Pacioretty's history and clear evidence, is baffling. These types of hits are extremely dangerous and there is no place for them in the NHL. The league shouldn't have necessarily thrown the book at the Habs forward, but there is enough evidence to warrant a suspension of two to five games.
Here is a hit that Pacioretty delivered to Kris Letang that got him suspended for three games last season. If this type of hit warranted three games, why was he not given a similar suspension considering how much worse the McDonagh hit was?
If the NHL truly wants to curb illegal and dangerous hits, there needs to be some consistency in rulings. The Rangers could be without McDonagh for some time, and this lack of supplemental discipline can set a negative precedent for head hits around the league.