Eighteen minutes into the second period of Tuesday’s Capitals-Islanders game, New York’s Matt Martin boarded Dmitry Orlov.
About 15 feet inside the Islanders zone, Orlov gained the puck. He teed up to pass it deeper, turning his body into the pass. That’s when Matt Martin, skating from the other side of the ice, put a shoulder and elbow into the back of Orlov’s shoulder.
The ensuing scrum involved a pair of Islanders throwing gloved punches into Orlov’s face. Matt Martin served two minutes for boarding. Dmitry Orlov and Casey Cizikas each served two minutes for roughing.
The hit could get a look from the NHL. Martin traveled a long way to nail Orlov into the boards, and he hit him in the back and shoulder. That’s the kind of hit the league wants to see out of the game.
On the other hand, Orlov pivoted at the last second and turned his body into the boards (possibly to brace himself), increasing the severity of the hit. He certainly isn’t at fault for putting himself in a vulnerable position, but that move might have made the hit worse than Martin intended.
This is why the Department of Player Safety guys make the big bucks: to make decisions like these. Your thoughts?