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Brad Marchand to have hearing with NHL for blindside hit on Umberger

March 16, 2011

Last night, Brad Marchand elbowed R.J. Umberger near center ice in a race for a loose puck. The incident went by without a penalty but caught the eye of NHL higher-ups and now Marchand will have a hearing tomorrow to see if the infraction is suspension-worthy. The hearing will happen over the phone which means it won’t be over five games.

Umberger was upset about the hit after last night’s game saying, “That’s what it felt like … You got to think that’s one of the hits we are trying to eliminate whether it’s inadvertent or not.” Fair points from Umberger. I thought that Marchand’s eyes were on the puck and simply didn’t know how close Umberger was to him but you’ve got to make an effort to get out of the way when you’re on a crash course with an opponent. There’s no way he didn’t at least see a big blue and red blob in his peripherals.

Clip shots are often worse than head-on hits at the same speed. The NHL has to take a stand on hits like this that don’t look intentional but result in blindside hits. Players have to be responsible for themselves and their equipment at all times. The NHL will set an example with this type of hit, probably a game or two. Umberger didn’t receive a concussion but an example will probably be made an example of. I actually kind of hope Marchand gets suspended so I don’t have to hear fans from all 29 other teams continue to complain about Bruins favoritism in suspensions, or lack thereof.

Daniel Paille was suspended four games earlier this year for a hit to the head in what was more of an actual attempt at making a hockey play. Marchand’s is far less acceptable in the confines of the game and was much more avoidable.

I posted both videos of the hit (Boston and Columbus) because I thought it was interesting to see how two sides saw the hit. I was watching the NESN feed with my head down typing away and didn’t see the play. There was nothing to see according to the way it was called. To my surprise I saw Marchand in a scrum after the whistle and chalked it up to Marchand being Marchand. The Columbus feed paints a much different picture, I think a more accurate one.

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