WASHINGTON – You don’t exactly have to be an expert lip-reader to know that both Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour and forward Micheal Ferland were not fans of the match penalty Ferland received in the second period of Game 2.
Brind’Amour appeared to be expressing his disbelief quite passionately on the bench after the call was made while Ferland made a detour on his way to the locker room to express his displeasure to the referees.
“I'm tracking back and I'm thinking, 'I'm going to finish my hit on this guy,'” Ferland said. “I see him reaching for the puck. I could have finished with my shoulder but he was reaching, so I thought I'd let up and I hit him with my back, my butt. I didn't make any contact with his head with my shoulder or anything. I didn't leave my feet or nothing. That's what I was thinking. I don't agree with the call.”
Ferland was issued a five-minute major and match penalty for a high hit he delivered to Capitals forward Nic Dowd in the second period.
According to the NHL rule book, a match penalty is assessed on a player who “deliberately attempts to injure or who deliberately injures an opponent in any manner.”
The play was bad luck for Ferland as Dowd took a high-stick from Warren Foegele just as Ferland was about to hit him. That made Dowd’s head snap back as he was getting hit, and it appeared far worse in real-time than it actually was.
“Originally it did look bad,” Brind’Amour said. “When you first watch it live, you’re like ‘Ooh, that…’ but then you watch it and you see it. I get to sit and stare at it on the screen. He doesn’t hit his head. His body contact…the first point of contact for sure was not the head. So that’s frustrating. Lose a player, have to kill a five-minute penalty. That gets frustrating for sure.” “
With the Caps clinging to a 2-1 lead, this could have proven to be a major turning point in the game. The penalty ultimately did not cost Carolina other than losing Ferland as Washington failed to score on the resulting five-minute major.
While Carolina was able to overcome the penalty, that is not the end of the story for Ferland. At least not yet.
When a player receives a match penalty, that player is automatically suspended until the league commissioner rules on the issue. The play does not look worthy of a match penalty and certainly not worthy of a further suspension, but Ferland has to hope Gary Bettman agrees, or he could end up missing more time.
“I don't think it was a dirty hit,” Ferland said. “I don't think [I] deserve to be suspended. I take pride in my game of being a clean hitter. I never want to hurt anybody.”
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