In the NHL, cross-checking is a penalty. Players who cross-check an opponent almost always earn two minutes in the penalty box, but what about ones who cross-check an official? Just before the opening puck drop of a game between the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks on Sunday night, Vancouver’s Jannik Hansen shoved an official and somehow got away with it.
Ryane Clowe and Alex Burrows were each given minor penalties before the game began, as a scrum broke out when Burrows leaned in and bumped heads with San Jose center Logan Couture. Hansen skated in when things got chippy, but for whatever reason he decided to cross-check the ref before even touching a Sharks player.
The play was extremely bizarre. Considering the game had yet to start, there’s no reason Hansen should have been angry with any of the referees. To make matters even stranger, the NHL is not planning to discipline Hansen.
“I have seen no referee’s report referencing the incident,” NHL Vice President of Communications John Dellapina told CBSSports.com. “And in cases like that, Colin Campbell, Terry Gregson and the Hockey Ops guys leave it up to the discretion of the on-ice officials whether behavior crossed the line.”
The problem with leaving it up to the on-ice officials is that it doesn’t appear any of them knew what was going on. The official who was shoved probably assumed it was incidental contact from two players who were tangled up behind him, but it seemed pretty obvious that Hansen put his stick into the ref’s back and shoved him. Who knows what he was thinking, but it’s hard to believe he was not punished in any way after seeing the video.Google+