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Freeze frame: Is Kadri getting a suspension?

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Did he or didn’t he? Will he or won’t he? Until the Department of Player Safety weighs in, all we can do is study all the freeze frames.

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Toronto Maple Leafs John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

In Saturday night’s Leafs game against the Vancouver Canucks, the Canucks were getting beat, they were already frustrated from game after game of scoring chances that were not going in, and then bang, bang, Morgan Rielly hit Jannick Hansen very hard in open ice, and seconds later, Nazem Kadri hit Daniel Sedin at the other end of the ice. Sedin also scored on the play, perhaps with a little help from a deflection off of Nikita Zaitsev’s stick. No one is bothering to freeze frame that footage to try to find out. Hansen was the man who fought Kadri right after the hit, and Kadri received a five minute charging penalty. He was also tossed from the game, but that was assessed on the fight, not the hit.

The highlight video on NHL.com has the entire play starting just before the hit on Hansen.

After the play, as you can see in the video, Sedin stays down on the ice for a bit, gets up, surveys the melee around him, and talks to the trainer. Sedin left the Vancouver bench for a short time, but came back in the game and showed no ill-effects. It seems that he was not seriously hurt on the play.

Seems. A lot of things seem one way or the other when you look at a frozen moment of time, or a slow motion bit of video. Our brains fill in the missing pieces of what we can’t see.

So whether or not all of the internet’s amateur analysts can decide what really happened, they also have to overcome their desire to see it one way or another, depending on how they feel about the situation.

Put me on team “wish it had never happened at all”. But it did happen, at high speed as Kadri was moving in on a player who had the puck.

Look at the hit from both sides. That’s what some are saying. The trouble is that the front view is a very long shot that is hard to see. Both views are in the NHL highlight video.

Freeze the frame and decide.

Then there’s the moral question. Hockey is nothing if not fond of moral judgements. It’s not “did Kadri hit Sedin in the head”, it’s is Kadri “dirty”. It’s not what he did, it’s who he is.

And the moral judgement seems to be independent of the rules for a lot of people, or perhaps seen to be at odds.

When the Department of Player Safety gets done looking at their videos, which are usually a little better than Twitter GIFs, they’ll decide. And ostensibly, they won’t make any moral judgements. They’ll just apply the rules to what they think they saw on the video.

Although not everyone believes that DoPS narrows their focus enough.

Or applies the rules unevenly, yet evenly enough.

There is only one thing clear here. Player Safety will not make everyone happy today.