Nick Foligno's Open Ice Hit on Patrick Dwyer: Much Ado About Nothing

Christopher SmithContributor IOctober 15, 2010

Nick Foligno must wait to see if the NHL is going to take action against his hit on Patrick Dwyer.
Nick Foligno must wait to see if the NHL is going to take action against his hit on Patrick Dwyer.Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images

At 13:47 of the third period in Thursday night's game of the Ottawa Senators versus the Carolina Hurricanes, Ottawa's Nick Foligno collides with Carolina's Patrick Dwyer in open ice, sending Dwyer spinning and down to the ice.

No penalty is called on the play, and Dwyer immediately gets to his feet, makes his way to the bench and doesn't miss a shift the rest of the game.

Seems rather harmless, doesn't it? A hard open ice hit that results in no injury is part of the game of hockey and happens hundreds of times throughout the NHL season.

Yet this is not the end of the story.

Enraged that no call was made on the play, the Carolina bench goes wild with the slapping of sticks, and head coach Paul Maurice and associate head coach Ron Francis are furious on the bench.

In an effort to calm the Carolina bench, Ottawa's Milan Michálek is on the receiving end of a make-up call for interference on the very next face-off. Carolina gets a power play, and their first goal of the game is scored.

That should be the end of it. Yet there is still more.

In a post-game interview, Maurice was both sarcastic and unhappy.

“Clearly the referees got a different view of it,” Maurice said. “They felt the hit was shoulder to shoulder. I mean, unless Patty's head is growing out of his armpit, I'm not sure how that's possible. They just missed it. I'm not sure what happens after that, they just missed the call. The upside is that they will have more video for the clip they send us next year on the head hits.”

Now this morning we have major media reviewing the play and calling for a possible suspension of Foligno for a blind-side hit to the head.

Never mind that it doesn't seem like Foligno made any effort to actually check, much less injure Dwyer. Never mind that there can be a debate made that the hit was neither blind-side nor to the head. The on-ice officials clearly thought that hit was shoulder to shoulder first with any possible head hit coming as an aftereffect.

Given the NHL's often bizarre enforcement of the rule book, however, and that it is early in the season yet and a message needs to be sent, don't be surprised if you find Foligno handed at least a one-game suspension in the very near future.

Much ado about nothing indeed.

Update: Nick Foligno was fined US$2,500 on Friday afternoon but no suspension was given.


Christopher Smith runs, an Ottawa Senators fan site.