2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs logo2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Calling Fair or Foul for Each of the 10 Biggest Hits from the 2013 NHL Playoffs

Tyler DonohueNational Recruiting AnalystMay 24, 2013

Calling Fair or Foul for Each of the 10 Biggest Hits from the 2013 NHL Playoffs

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    The legacy of Stanley Cup playoff hockey is packed with historic hits. These collisions routinely bring fans to their feet and fuel bad blood between rival teams. 

    Although the NHL continues to shift its style of play toward a safer environment (what contact sport hasn't?), we still witness a variety of punishing blows on a consistent basis. As penalties and suspension rates rapidly mount, these moments often become the subject of scrutiny.

    Some of these hits are clean and legal, providing a pivotal dynamic during the flow of the game. Others are simply seeded with malice and often result in serious, unwarranted injuries. 

    Here, we take a look at 10 hits that have occurred through nearly two rounds of 2013 playoff action. After a brief assessment, it's time to determine whether each is fair or foul in the context of the game.

Andre Shaw (Chicago) on Jakub Kindl (Detroit)

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    The Hit

    Shaw follows up an initial hit on Kindl with a shot of his own. He plows forward with his elbow to deliver a blow on the tag-team take down. 

    You could certainly argue that Shaw eased up on his way toward the boards, but a late turn lands a lick on Kindl's noggin. In every sport across America, the prevention of head injuries is at the forefront of safety measures, so this is going to earn you a penalty in most instances.

    Shaw was sent to the box for two minutes.


    The Verdict: Foul

Eric Fehr (Washington) on Derick Brassard (New York)

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    The Hit

    Brassard initiated this contact but took the brunt of the impact. Instead of bracing along the boards, Fehr responded with a preemptive launch toward the Rangers standout.

    He landed an elbow on Brassard's face, picking up a two-minute penalty. Can't argue with the refs' call, but you can bet Brassard will think twice before charging toward Fehr next time around.


    The Verdict: Fair

Robyn Regehr (Los Angeles on Ryan Reaves (St. Louis)

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    The Hit

    This is one of those hits that immediately makes you cringe. Regehr charged in from behind Ryan Reaves, rocking him off the boards with a hit that reverberated throughout the arena.

    As a puck-handler, you're taught to always keep your head on a swivel for reasons like this. Regehr slammed the unsuspecting St. Louis player with momentum at his back.


    The Verdict: Foul

Cal Clutterbuck (Minnesota) on Brent Seabrook (Chicago)

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    The Hit

    Now this is how it's done! Clutterbuck sends Seabrook sprawling in the air and eventually on the ice.

    The hit was a part of the fight for space and left Minnesota fans cheering in unison. Clutterbuck's imitation of a battering ram was pretty much textbook.


    The Verdict: Fair

Raffi Torres (San Jose) on Jarret Stoll (Los Angeles)

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    The Hit

    Torres continues to put off a Ron Artest-esque vibe on the ice. After decisions like these, you can only shake your head and wonder why. 

    He skates across the ice and launches directly toward Stoll's head (again, something you simply won't get away with anymore). The hit cost both players time on the ice.

    Stoll suffered injuries, while Torres was suspended for the remainder of the Western Conference semifinals.

    The Verdict: Foul

Eric Gryba (Ottawa) on Lars Eller (Montreal)

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    The Hit

    This one is loaded with shock value. Eller ends up face down as blood soaks the ice in the aftermath of a devastating hit by Gryba, who aimed to break up a potential pass connection.

    These are the kind of hits NHL fans grew accustomed to seeing during postseason action in past decades, but times have changed. The NHL slapped Gryba with a two-game suspension,


    The Verdict: Foul

Dion Phaneuf (Toronto) on Daniel Paille (Boston)

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    The Hit

    Phaneuf delivered a forearm after squaring up Paille in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. There may have been some elbow-to-face action involved here, but this hit seems appropriate for this level of playoff action.


    The Verdict: Fair

Andrew Ference (Boston) Elbows Mikhail Grabovski (Toronto)

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    The Hit

    The big Bruin D-man bullied Grabovski here, supplying an unexpected elbow to his head. Direct contact to the head is a major no-no, regardless of where you are on the ice.


    The Verdict: Foul

Justin Abdelkader (Detroit) on Toni Lydman (Anaheim)

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    The Hit

    Yet another example of why Abdelkader is considered such an intimidator. He rocks Lydman with a hit from the side in Anaheim's zone. 

    This was a memorable moment in a thrilling seven-game series.


    The Verdict: Fair

Brooks Orpik (Pittsburgh) on Chris Neil (Ottawa)

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    The Hit

    Here's an example of a player receiving immediate retribution. Neil laid a hit into Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke before taking the brunt of another collision on the same possession.

    Orpik squares him up and sits him down. 

    The Verdict: Fair

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