BOSTON -- David Backes may be facing the music for a penalized hit on Frans Nielsen during Tuesday night’s win over the Detroit Red Wings.
The NHL Department of Player Safety announced on Wednesday morning that Backes will have a phone hearing this afternoon for an “interference” hit on Nielsen, and with that could be facing supplemental discipline.
The Bruins power forward threw a hit on Nielsen in the final minute of the first period in Boston’s 6-5 overtime win over the Red Wings at TD Garden, and was whistled for roughing after Nielsen went down to the ice. Replays showed that hit certainly could be considered very late, but Nielsen’s head wasn’t the main point of contact between the two players as Backes skated by him.
If anything it looked like the two players banged heads during the collision, and that’s where Nielsen was caught before he staggered down to the ice. Video replays available immediately were very unclear as to what exactly happened, but it certainly didn’t look like contact where the head was specifically targeted.
Either way, the hit knocked Nielsen out for the rest of the game after he’d scored a first-period goal and logged just over five minutes of ice time,. BBackes was enticed to drop the gloves with Jonathan Ericsson in the second period, presumably as a measure of answering for the hit.
With the phone hearing, Backes could be facing less than a five-game suspension for the hit, but could also be getting off with a warning or fine considering he’s never been suspended by the NHL over the course of his rugged, physical 848-game NHL career.
This humble hockey writer’s opinion: This didn’t feel like a hit that rose to the level of supplemental discipline when viewing it live or during the replays afterward, but it was definitely late and appears to have caused an injury to one of Detroit’s best players in the process. Those would be two strikes against Backes during the hearing with the NHL Player Safety folks.