Anaheim Ducks forward Corey Perry has been suspended by the National Hockey League for four games following his late hit on the Minnesota Wild's Jason Zucker.
The incident took place in the Ducks' 2-1 win on Tuesday, a game that Minnesota led 1-0. As the video below shows, Perry was not only a full second late in making contact with Zucker after he had cleared the puck, but he also made clear contact with the forward's head.
Rob Blake of the NHL's Department of Player Safety shares some valuable observations of the play. He notes that Perry definitely had time to pull out of the hit or at least make less significant impact. However, he decided to follow through with his hit, and he received a major penalty for interference and a game misconduct as a result.
Now, he'll also miss four games.
The forward was quoted via Nick Cotsonika of Yahoo! Sports after the game as downplaying the incident, calling it "just one of those things":
I was committed to the hit. It’s one of those things. I didn’t change my path of direction. I was committed. I tried to let up. It’s hard. It happens so fast. It’s unfortunate. I don’t go out there looking to hurt guys. That’s not the way I am. That’s not me as a person.
Obviously you don’t want to miss games and be suspended or whatever. I want to help this team win. That’s my goal...
Cotsonika goes on to say that the collision was most certainly an illegal hit to the head—regardless of whether the contact was reckless or intentional.
He reports that the Department of Player Safety does not have to determine if the head was targeted or not, for the hit can simply be considered reckless. They just need to find out whether the head was the "principal point of contact," which, in this case, it most certainly was.
And so the suspension was delivered accordingly.
Perry has had a strong career since his move to the NHL back in 2005-06. In just his second season in 2006-07, he recorded 44 points by way of 17 goals and 27 assists for the season.
Those numbers have improved throughout the years since then—highlighted by earning the honor of the 2010-11 National Hockey League's Most Valuable Player.
The forward was suspended earlier in his career for an elbow on Claude Giroux in 2009—something that has since given him a reputation as a tough and strong player. Whether that reputation sometimes crosses the line into becoming a "dirty player"—well, that one's seemingly up for debate.
Especially after this most recent hit and suspension.
Perry will return against the Detroit Red Wings on March 22, 2013.
What do you think of the hit? Should Perry have been suspended?
Comment below or hit me up on Twitter: