Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba has been known to throw his weight around, and Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane has been made well aware of Dumba’s hitting prowess, but he found out about it all over again Sunday.
Early in the third period of Sunday’s game, Kane was moving through the neutral zone along with Artemi Panarin. Panarin made a short pass to Kane in such a way that the Blackhawks winger had to dig it out of his own feet, and that set Kane up for to be on the receiving end of Dumba’s check. He saw Kane digging the puck out of his own feet, and Dumba stepped up as Kane was crossing the blueline and delivered a monstrous open-ice hit:
Following the hit, Panarin jumped in after Dumba and was handed a minor penalty for roughing and the Wild blueliner escaped without an infraction. Kane was forced to leave the game for a few moments, but he was able to return to the tilt later in the third period. After returning with 10:42 remaining in the contest, Kane skated another four and a half minutes including a shift of 1:38 in overtime. He would also take a shot in the shootout, but failed to score.
It shouldn’t be expected that Dumba will face any supplemental discipline for the hit, even though Kane’s head appears to be the main point of contact. The belief is Dumba’s hit falls under the category of unavoidable head contact, which states that, “the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position by assuming a posture that made head contact on an otherwise full body check unavoidable,” and the subsection of Rule 48 — which pertains to illegal head contact — was posted to Twitter by Damian Echevarrieta, vice president of the Department of Player Safety.
Dumba is by no means the hits leader in the NHL, but the 21-year-old has been credited with 73 hits in 73 games this season, and his proclivity for throwing the body has even helped him raise some money for charity. Last season, Dumba donated $100 to Defending The Blue Line for every hit he threw on home ice.