Colorado Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov checked a Canadiens player into the boards in what some pundits are calling a slew-foot.
A scary incident happened early on during the Colorado Avalanche’s visit to the Montreal Canadiens in Bell Centre. Defenseman Nikita Zadorov checked forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi into the boards, and the center had to be helped off the ice.
Those are the clear-cut facts. The unknown is whether Zadorov is guilty of slew-footing Kotkaniemi, which would be the reason the forward fell so awkwardly.
Slew-footing is a little-called penalty in hockey. Here’s how the official NHL rule book describes the infraction:
"“Slew-footing is the act of a player using his leg or foot to knock or kick an opponent’s feet from under him, or pushes an opponent’s upper body backward with an arm or elbow, and at the same time with a forward motion of his leg, knocks or kicks the opponent’s feet from under him, causing him to fall to violently to the ice.”"
Well, that’s a run-on sentence if ever I saw one. However, that’s the definition the NHL has for slew-footing.
Here the league provides a video with examples of slew-footing, including ones that resulted in supplemental discipline:
Ok, that gives us a pretty good visual of what the rule book is talking about in terms of slew-footing. So, now let’s look at the play that involved Zadorov:
This is the Altitude feed. So, you hear color commentator
explain the scary fall as a bigger man hitting a smaller one. Zadorov is 6-foot-6, 240 pounds, while Kasperi Kotkaniemi is 6-foot-2, 198 pounds.
In the TSN broadcast, the announcers call it “almost a little bit of a slew-foot.” No idea what the French broadcasters called it, but Montreal coach Claude Julien labeled it a dirty hit. And the official Yahoo Sports! twitter wondered aloud (ie. in a tweet) if that play would be considered a slew-foot.
Needless to say, all the Habs fans are calling it a slew-foot. However, the Sporting News reported the incident thus:
"“There was speculation Zadorov swept Kotkaniemi’s feet out from under him, but a review of the video showed little to no evidence of that.”"
How Kotkaniemi fell to the ice was very scary. He couldn’t get his shoulder under him, so his head and neck hit first before his shoulder. He was ruled out for the rest of the game, and he will not go on the Canadien’s upcoming road trip.
The scariness of the fall and resultant injury might catch the Department of Player Safety’s attention. But was it a classic slew-foot?
Zadorov didn’t get any penalty on the play, while slew-footing calls for a match penalty — not that officials don’t get calls wrong. One thing they got right was blowing the play dead as soon as it was obvious Kotkaniemi was hurt.
As far as I know, the DoPS hasn’t stated that it will be looking into Colorado Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov’s hit. I don’t know that I want to say it rises to the level of slew-footing. What’s your take — drop your comments below.