Brayden Schenn started his campaign serving a three-game suspension for a high hit on T.J. Oshie that came in the final game of the Flyers’ season in 2015-16, and after Wednesday night’s game against the Detroit Red Wings, Schenn is hoping he’s not facing another ban just eight games into his year.
Schenn’s questionable hit came late in the second frame Wednesday night with the puck moving into the Red Wings’ zone. A puck flipped into the air was intended for Schenn, but knocked out of the air by Detroit blueliner Brendan Smith as the puck crossed into the Red Wings’ zone. Schenn, who was approaching from the right wing boards, was in pursuit of the puck, but as Smith made contact, Schenn seemingly attempted to jump around Smith and avoid a possible interference penalty.
The result was an ugly one, especially for Smith. As Schenn jumped, his elbow caught Smith’s head, snapping around the neck of the Red Wings defenseman and sending him to the ice. Smith immediately left the ice and was forced to leave the game for a short while, but he was able to return:
Though some will feel that, accident or not, Schenn is deserving of a ban or that his recent history should see him suspended, don’t bank on the NHL’s Department of Player Safety coming down on Schenn for the hit.
Sure, the resulting head contact to Smith is ugly, but there doesn’t appear to be anything even close to intentional about Schenn’s hit on Smith. Following Wednesday’s game, a contest the Flyers won 3-2 in overtime, Schenn said the incident couldn’t have possibly been more accidental.
"I 1,000 percent didn’t try to hit him,” Schenn said, per the Courier Post Online’s Dave Isaac. “I was trying to get out of his way and avoid contact. I know it probably doesn’t look like that. I seen him swinging at the puck and I’m kind of watching the puck and to be honest I was trying to get out of his way and I hit him in the head by accident.”
Schenn said he even approached Smith in the third period, once he had returned to the game, in order to apologize and make sure the Red Wings defenseman was all right. According to Isaac, Schenn said that Smith didn’t see the hit as intentional, either, and thought only that Schenn was trying to avoid contact.
Expect the league will see things the same way as Schenn and Smith, too.
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