I mean this is the exact kind of hit the NHL is trying to eliminate. A check that comes from the players blind side that clearly targets the head and neck region. It’s an egregious penalty that for sure deserved a game misconduct. Honestly, it deserves a multiple game suspension if you ask me. Did Blichfeld raise his shoulders and body to make contact with Nathan Mackinnon’s head? No. But Blichfeld clearly makes direct contact with the head and jaw while he is leading with his shoulder. It is the exact kind of hit that hurts a player and that the NHL is trying to eliminate.
Luckily Nathan Mackinnon is doing fine. At least he is according to Gabriel Landeskog, the Avalanche team Captain. But there is still no word on whether or not Mackinnon will be available for next game. Hopefully he will be available for the next game, as the Avalanche are still without star defensemen Cale Makar and Erik Johnson. Plus their backup goaltender and other key offensive players. The team really can’t afford any more injuries to key players.
Even though Nathan Mackinnon is okay, the hit that Blichfeld laid on him is unacceptable. It was absolutely the right call for the player to be ejected in that instance. You absolutely can not hit the head of a player.
Although I will give Blichfeld some benefit of the doubt. Because when you slow the game tape down 100 times it’s pretty easy to say; “Blichfeld should have adjusted his hit so that he didn’t target Nathan Mackinnon’s head.” But in real time that is so much easier said than done. Mackinnon is twice as fast as most of the guys on the ice with him. Trying to adjust to his speed in real time to make a clean hit, especially when Mackinnon is low and possessing the puck, sounds impossible to me.
Regardless of how difficult it is to adjust to Nathan Mackinnon and his speed the hit is still a penalty and deserves a suspension. Even though there was a bit of a scrum after the hit, Blichfeld should have gotten his ass kicked by the Avalanche players for that hit. Luckily the Avalanche still won the game 4-0.