Colorado Avalanche: All Head Shots Should be Reviewed, Goals No

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 15: Radek Faksa #12 of the Dallas Stars checks Nathan MacKinnon #29 of the Colorado Avalanche into the boards at the Pepsi Center on December 15, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 15: Radek Faksa #12 of the Dallas Stars checks Nathan MacKinnon #29 of the Colorado Avalanche into the boards at the Pepsi Center on December 15, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Four noteworthy plays — two head hits and two disallowed goals — occurred when the Colorado Avalanche hosted the Dallas Stars, highlighting the lack of parity in the NHL.

Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog will have a hearing with the Department of Player “Safety” because he was in the arena when Martin Hanzal elbowed Samuel Girard in the head:

What’s more, Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson is already huddling up with his lawyers and the NHLPA in expectation of a 20+ game suspension for Julius Honka’s head shot on J.T. Compher:

Wilson had the misfortune to be playing hockey in the same country when this head-hit occurred.

Yes, I’m being facetious again, just like when I suggested Landeskog would be suspended for Wilson’s hit on Oscar Sundqvist. However, I’m using a bit of satire to highlight something that’s all too true — there is no parity in how the NHL runs its games.

For example, imagine Gabriel Landeskog laying that same hit that Honka delivered.

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Julius Honka clearly boarded JT Compher and caught JT’s head with his elbow. (Compher, of course, was recently sidelined for five weeks with a head injury.) Landeskog is on the DoPS’s “repeat offender” list (read 💩list), so he wouldn’t be given the benefit of the doubt that Honka was — no penalty in the game, and no news of DoPS looking into the play.

Compher left the game, presumably to undergo the concussion protocol. Luckily, he was able to return. The Avalanche take potential head injuries very seriously, so I’m confident he cleared whatever medical diagnosis necessary to return.

The Hanzal-on-Girard play was described as a big man-little man situation, meaning Hanzal can’t help that he’s so much taller than Girard. Tom Wilson, who’s at the top of the DoPS’ 💩, er, repeat offender list has tried that defense, to no avail.

If it doesn’t work for Tom Wilson, it shouldn’t work for Martin Hanzal, especially since the latter once concussed Erik Johnson and later elbowed him in the head so hard our Condor lay prone on the ice afterward. Johnson, of course, is 6-foot-4, so not exactly a “little man.”

However, Hanzal — despite showing just as much if not more propensity for targeting the head as Wilson is accused of — also received no penalty and no talk of supplemental discipline.

If the NHL is serious about eliminating concussions from the game, it’s going to have to do more than just start calling them “head injuries.” (Did anyone else notice that’s what teams are doing now? It was never officially said that Compher was out with a concussion, though the forward himself calls it that.)

The Department of Player “Safety” needs to start looking at all head hits or stop targeting specific players. Parity.

And while we’re tilting at windmills, let’s address goalie interference. Here’s a quote from last night’s post-game presser with Jared Bednar:

"“I don’t know what exactly goalie interference is now.”"

That’s not exactly a damning quote on its own. However, whatever else I might say about coach Bednar, he is known for being a toe-the-line, even-keel kind of man. He is not a coach who makes a seemingly offhand comment for effect.

In other words, if he questioned how these calls are made, it’s a sign of genuine confusion and lack of acceptance.

Here’s the officials taking candy from a baby (or a first NHL goal from AJ Greer, a tough guy who’s probably not exactly a baby):

And, to prove they don’t hate babies, just the Avalanche, here is the officials taking candy from an old guy (at least on our team):

Both of these goals, which occurred in the first period, were disallowed. That’s eight disallowed goals on the season for the Colorado Avalanche.

Here’s a really interesting video that Nathan Rudolph put together comparing one of the other eight disallowed goals, again Carl Soderberg, and an almost exact replica which wasn’t disallowed against the Avalanche:

As you can see, both players make incidental contact with the goalie. When Soderberg does it, the goal is called back. When Leon Draisaitl does it to the Avs, the goal stands.

I’m not going to go so far as to say that the NHL has it out for the Colorado Avalanche specifically. Rather, there’s a pecking order among players and teams. Superstar players and the best teams get the biggest benefit of the doubt. Everyone else is somewhere along the hierarchy.

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I don’t like it. However, it’s the system we have, and maybe one we’ve always had. So, I guess the only solution for the Colorado Avalanche is to keep climbing in the standings so that they can be high enough up the hierarchy that more of these calls go their way.