John Moore didn't hit Erik Haula late, and he didn't make contact with Haula's head first, either, but the league suspended the Rangers defenseman for five games anyway — and he deserved it.
"If Moore is to attempt this extremely difficult hit, his timing and angle of approach must ensure that he hits squarely through the body and that Haula's head is not the main point of contact," director of player safety Patrick Burke said in a video explaining the decision. "Moore does neither."
If nothing else, the fact that Moore has now been suspended twice in 12 games needed to be addressed. He laid a similar hit on Dale Weise — not late, injurious, head as main but not first point of contact — during the playoffs and sat for two games.
Look at what the league said then: “it is important to note that Weise makes no sudden movements prior to or simultaneous with the hit that contribute to his head being the main point of contact. Therefore the onus is on Moore to make sure that he delivers a full body check that does not make Weise’s head the main point of contact."
Pretty close. Moore deserves this one.
Also worth nothing: The fact that Moore's suspension is less than six games means it won't go to a neutral arbitrator.
BRUINS NEED BARTKOWSKI IMPROVEMENT
Matt Bartkowski could help the Boston Bruins right now. He's a defenseman, and Boston is generally short on them.
After the preseason Johnny Boychuk trade and injuries to Zdeno Chara (4-6 weeks, knee) and Torey Krug (2-3 weeks, fingers), the Bruins' current top six is some combination of Dennis Seidenberg, Dougie Hamilton, Adam McQuaid, Bartkowski, Zach Trotman and call-ups Joe Morrow and David Warsofsky.
There's space in there for Bartkowski, 26, to play a big role. The first problem: In five games, he hasn't been good. Boston controls 50.4 percent of all shot attempts when he's on the ice at even-strength, the worst mark among their defensemen with more than 50 minutes played. They've also been outscored 8-2. None of that bodes well for playing him on, say, a second pair.
Beyond that, Bartkowski was specifically bad Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild. Two of his misplays led directly to Wild goals in their four-goal third-period comeback.
The end result: Neither Bartkowski nor his coach is feeling all that great about the prospect of increased playing time. DJ Bean of WEEI.com quoted Bartkowski as saying he's "Just about fed up" and "It couldn't come at a worse time... the team needs me."
Bean also asked Bruins boss Claude Julien if he's comfortable with Bartkowski in the lineup. The response was "We'll see."
Bartkowski played less than nine minutes against Minnesota. Morrow and Warsofsky should probably get ready.
NO SUSPENSION FOR GRYBA
Senators defenseman Erik Gryba has avoided a suspension for a hit Tuesday night on Blue Jackets forward Artem Anisimov.
Anisimov was close to the puck near the boards, with his head down, when Gryba laid him out with a shoulder-to-shoulder hit that at least partially got Anisimov's head. Anisimov left the game with a concussion and did not return while Gryba was handed a game misconduct.
Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch tweeted Wednesday: "Told Gryba hit on Anisimov got the longest look, but ruled Anisimov's head was not the principal point of contact."
It was not the first time Gryba has been in front of the NHL's disciplinary committee. Gryba received a two-game suspension in 2013 for an open-ice blow to the head of Canadiens forward Lars Eller. Though the hits appeared similar, the NHL did not deem any punishment was necessary in this case.
Spin on, NHL wheel of justice.
Contributors: Sean Gentille, Ben Valentine