What a horrible hit.
With under 30 seconds to play in the second period of Monday night's Game 6, Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy led with his shoulder to the face of Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson, leaving the big winger down on the ice for minutes.
The call? A two-minute minor penalty for an illegal check to the head. Because the NHL is stupid.
Thanks to the current incarnation of Rule 48 in the NHL's rulebook, officials were forced between calling the minor penalty that McAvoy ended up with, or hitting him with a game misconduct, with no option for a major penalty.
48.1 Illegal Check to the Head – A hit resulting in contact with an opponent’s head where the head was the main point of contact and such contact to the head was avoidable is not permitted.
48.2 Minor Penalty – For violation of this rule, a minor penalty shall be assessed.
48.3 Major Penalty – There is no provision for a major penalty for this rule.
48.4 Game Misconduct Penalty – There is no provision for a game misconduct for this rule.
48.5 Match Penalty – The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a match penalty if, in his judgment, the player attempted to or deliberately injured his opponent with an illegal check to the head. If deemed appropriate, supplementary discipline can be applied by the Commissioner at his discretion
An illegal check to the head and you get two minutes for it.
McAvoy will likely be suspended for the hit, but a lot of good that does the Blue Jackets.