Suspend him or not: Alex Petrovic hit on Rickard Rakell

Unless it can get access to a better camera angle, the Department of Player Safety will have a tough one when it deals with Alex Petrovic’s hit on Rickard Rakell Wednesday night.

This is one of those times when working for the Department of Player Safety isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In the Anaheim-Florida game Wednesday night, Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic possibly knocked Ducks forward Rickard Rakell out of the game with this hit in the first period.

We say “possibly” because we only know that Rakell left the game with an upper-body injury and did not return. He did, however, get up fairly quickly after the hit and played a couple of shifts before leaving the game.

Let’s assume that Rakell left the game because he was injured because of the hit. Now the player safety department has to decide whether that hit falls under the purview of Rule 48.

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Was the principle point of contact the head? Not terribly conclusive with the video evidence we have, but it did not look as though it was a headshot to these eyes. Elbow up or shoulder hit? Again, it’s hard to tell.

The hit looked a little late and Petrovic looks as though he left his feet slightly to make the hit. But it certainly didn’t look egregious from the angle we have. Not exactly a lily-white play by Petrovic, but not something that looks like a suspendable act either.