Hurricanes winger Brad Malone has had trouble finding a big role in Carolina’s lineup, but he may not have much of a choice whether or not he suits up for the next couple of games after he dropped Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno with a high hit.
With the Hurricanes leading 2-1 in the third period, Foligno took a stretch pass from Seth Jones and cut across the blueline before putting a pass towards the slot area. As Foligno made the pass, Malone caught Foligno with a high hit that left the Blue Jackets captain down on the ice:
Malone wasn’t whistled for a penalty on the play, but he dropped the gloves with Brandon Dubinsky later in the frame. Following the hit, Foligno was taken to the dressing room and didn’t return to the game. According to the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline, the NHL is reviewing the hit.
The first slowed down look at the hit doesn’t look good for Malone, as it appears he catches Foligno square on the chin on a play where the Blue Jackets winger doesn’t change the position of his head. The second view, however, looks as though Malone may have caught at least a piece of Foligno’s shoulder before continuing on through the hit. That Foligno was injured won’t have a bearing on whether the league chooses to suspend Malone, but it could impact the length of the suspension should the league decide the hit was suspendable.
Post-game, the Blue Jackets clearly weren’t too pleased about the check. "I'm pretty sure that was a head hit,” Dubinsky told Portzline. “I'm pretty sure it was dirty. (Foligno) is not feeling too good right now.”
If the league chooses to suspend Malone, they’ll have to do so before Saturday night when Columbus hosts the Hurricanes in the second half of a home-and-home between the two clubs.