Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba suited up for 58 games and threw 42 hits in 2014-15. Through eight games this season, he’s already been credited with knocking around 10 opponents. So it’s no secret the 21-year-old defenseman doesn’t shy away from physical contact.
Dumba’s proclivity for laying the body is even helping him do some good. This season he started Dumba’s Hit For Heroes, which sees him donate $100 to a charity, Defending The Blue Line, for every hit he throws on home ice.
Dumba has been able to walk the fine line between laying clean, hard hits and landing himself a conversation with the league's Department of Player Safety. But Tuesday night, Dumba’s physical side may have gotten him in a spot of trouble. With Edmonton visiting the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center, Dumba lined up Oilers left winger Lauri Korpikoski as he was exiting the zone and laid him out with a borderline hit:
Korpikoski got up after the hit and remained in the game and Dumba was not assessed a penalty on the play. The only penalty handed out was a two-minute minor to Oilers blueliner Eric Gryba for roughing.
The case for suspending Dumba: Whether it’s Korpikoski’s responsibility to have his head up or not, Dumba should know that he can’t be lining up and throwing a hit on a player’s blindside. That Korpikoski doesn’t see Dumba coming is strike one. It’s also not favorable for Dumba that he appears to catch Korpikoski right in the head.
The case against suspending Dumba: Korpikoski was all right — or remained in the game, at the very least — which will help Dumba’s case. As will the fact no penalty was assessed on the play. It’s also difficult to tell if Dumba’s shoulder catches Korpikoski’s prior to hitting his head or if it’s a clean shoulder to head contact. That grey area might help Dumba’s case.
The Wild don't play again until Friday, so there's plenty of time for the NHL's Department of Player Safety to take a look at the hit and determine whether or not it will warrant supplemental discipline.