While the Flyers were frustrated there was no penalty for Kurtis MacDermid's hit on Ivan Provorov Tuesday, they at least saw the league punish the Kings' defenseman Friday.
The NHL Department of Player Safety suspended MacDermid two games for an illegal check to the head, which he delivered on Provorov during the second period of the Flyers' 5-3 loss at STAPLES Center.
MacDermid fell into the Flyers' bench as a result of the check (see video). Shayne Gostisbehere and Robert Hagg kindly helped him back to the ice.
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Understandably, the Flyers were not happy with the hit. Somehow, there was no whistle on the play and fortunately for the Flyers, Provorov was not seriously injured. The 22-year-old defenseman leads the Flyers in ice time (24:48 per game) and has never missed a game over four seasons, while he's projected to finish with career highs in goals (18) and points (48).
Here were the major points in the review from the NHL Department of Player Safety:
This is a forceful check that makes the head the main point of contact on a hit where such head contact was avoidable. This is an illegal check to the head.
It is important to note that the illegal check to the head rule looks only at the main point of contact of a hit, not the first point of contact.
Rule 48 (illegal check to the head) does provide situations where head contact on a body check may be excused. None of these exemptions apply on this hit.
While we acknowledge MacDermid’s argument that he does not intentionally pick the head as a target, he mistimes this hit and takes an angle of approach that cuts along the front of Provorov’s body rather than through Provorov’s core.
The NHL Department of Player Safety noted how MacDermid had no history of suspensions or malicious play. The suspension for MacDermid is fair and good for the NHL to provide punitive action after the hit didn't receive a whistle.
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