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You make the call: Should Erik Cole be suspended for headshot?

Dec 17, 2011, 9:11 PM EDT

Erik Cole; Max Pacioretty; AP

Near the end of the first period of the Devils/Habs game in Montreal, Erik Cole hit rookie defenseman Adam Larsson with a hit to the head. Cole was penalized two minutes for an illegal hit to the head, while Larsson headed back to the locker room to recover from the hit. Thankfully, he was able to return to action in the second period.

It certainly looks like Cole caught the vulnerable Larsson with an elbow as he tried to curl around the net. As the announcers mentioned, this was one of those “drive-by” hits that Brendan Shanahan and Rob Blake have been watching closely.

Was the head the principle point of contact? Absolutely. Was the player in a vulnerable position? Check. But Larsson was also bending down as he reached for the puck. Does that mean that Larsson changed the position of his head enough for Cole to escape punishment?

We through this out to the readers: Should Erik Cole be suspended by the NHL for this hit on Adam Larsson? The comment section awaits.

  1. tlndma - Dec 17, 2011 at 10:58 PM

    I’m convinced they gotta make the rinks bigger. Look how congested it was behind the net.

  2. taytay099 - Dec 17, 2011 at 11:12 PM

    No. Look how low he was when he reached for the puck.

  3. councilbrad - Dec 17, 2011 at 11:24 PM

    First off, as a Habs fan, I may be biased.

    However, NO, this should not be a suspension. Cole didn’t move his elbow at all, Larsson’s head was at about waist level as he’s ducking down. How do you avoid hitting the head in that situation? It’s a tough play, but no suspension. Though, Shanahan probably will suspend him and continue his radically inconsistent discipline.

    • bcisleman - Dec 17, 2011 at 11:40 PM

      The problem with your argument is that Cole had plenty of time to hold up or avoid hitting Larsson in the head. Larsson’s head is down before Cole enters the frame. Cole should be able to see that and react.

  4. bcisleman - Dec 17, 2011 at 11:35 PM

    Absolutely. Pronger, Rolston, Staios may have had their careers ended. Who knows if Sid will ever be the same again? Larsson & Nino could have had their careers ended before they started. God alone knows what will happen with Giroux, Schenn, and Couturier on PHI.

    Shanny needs to put the hammer down. 5 games should be the minimum for any head hit. If there is any history, it should be 10, 15, or 20 games. Maybe there should be a rule that a team has to forfeit a draft pick or prospect if a serious injury results. Shanny really needs to send a strong message before the NHL loses too many more of its best players.

  5. drewsylvania - Dec 18, 2011 at 12:40 AM

    It’s kind of tricky since Larsson’s head is down for a long time. But I don’t think he’s trying for a head hit. Maybe the league will rule that Cole should have seen Larsson’s head down and dodged. But it seems to me that Cole is going for a shoulder hit, but screwed up. Maybe that’s suspension-worthy in today’s NHL.

    • elvispocomo - Dec 18, 2011 at 2:19 PM

      I’d agree he’s trying to make contact with the shoulder or body of Larsson, but the way he angles his body and pushes his elbow back (more than out) at the last second was definitely dangerous.

      He doesn’t chicken wing the elbow so much as he would have missed him if he did that, but he extends it behind him to make contact. His upper body made very little contact otherwise. If he doesn’t change anything but come in for the hit as normal, he misses Larsson altogether, so Cole definitely is reacting to Larsson ducking down rather than planning to hit him that way.

      I think a short suspension, but I thought that on the Phaneuf hit and against Kassian and the Lucic hit on Miller. We’ll yet see about Lucic’s hit from behind last night, as he lines him up seeing his numbers the whole time.

  6. stinkinfish - Dec 18, 2011 at 8:05 AM

    He’s lucky Cole was a split second early getting there, otherwise Larsson, skating with his head down, would have been the recipient of a big open ice hit and we wouldn’t even be talking about a penalty.

    • elvispocomo - Dec 18, 2011 at 2:24 PM

      Larsson was being forced off balance by the player checking in behind him. Cole comes in to take advantage of Larsson fighting off the check (not maliciously recognizing he’s off-balance) and then adjusts his hit at the last second to make contact when Larsson is reaching for the puck.

      And behind the net is hardly a big open ice hit.

  7. groess - Dec 18, 2011 at 8:22 AM

    Larsson’s body/head position does not change just before the hit, Cole targets his head = suspension.

  8. bogrann - Dec 18, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    VERY borderline. The two angles show different stories. Top angle looks very convincing for a suspension. Ice level angle shows a misstep or slight attempt by Cole to avoid the head contact. I think he realized too late to make a complete move away and/or risking himself with the possibility of catching an edge at the last moment.

  9. spitfisher - Dec 18, 2011 at 12:05 PM

    I do hope some of the fans dialed 911 and the police on that hit, I mean it seems only logical

  10. ynotflyers - Dec 19, 2011 at 1:42 AM

    I’m a big Habs Fan, with that being said, the hit looked as if there was intent, what I would like to know is why not make the attempt to pull up on your elbow ? You know your gonna get called on it….So did he maybe not line him up ?? These calls go both ways because nobody knows what he was thinking…..

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