What constitutes a great, solid check has changed over the course of the past decade, but one thing that has remained constant is that even the biggest, most picture perfect open-ice hit can’t top a beautiful hip check.
Monday evening in Toronto, Florida Panthers defenseman Steven Kampfer threw one of those beautiful hip checks, and it was arguably one of the best hits of the season. Early in the third period, Kampfer was retreating into his own zone while Maple Leafs defenseman Frank Corrado approached with the puck. As Corrado went to the outside, Kampfer cut in, sealed off the boards and sent Corrado sailing through the air with an awesome hit:
There are always a few good hip checks each season, but most of them result in players spinning off to the side or the player throwing the check going too low and clipping the opponent. Kampfer’s hit, though, is textbook. He catches Corrado above the knees and then Kampfer extends his body upwards to flip the Maple Leafs defenseman.
Kampfer’s hit would draw the ire of Maple Leafs winger Rich Clune not too long after. After Toronto scored a goal — which would end up a disallowed marker for goaltender interference — Clune dropped the mitts and throw a few punches at Kampfer, resulting in a Panthers power play as Clune was sent off for roughing.
Unfortunately for Kampfer, this will probably be his best highlight from the campaign. He’s played 45 games of solid defense, but he’s only managed four points while averaging less than 15 minutes of ice time per game this season. He was scratched for much of the early season, too. If this does stand as his top play from this season, though, at least it was one heck of a hit.