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UPDATED: Sharks’ Desjardins ejected for controversial open-ice hit on Blackhawks’ Mayers

Feb 6, 2013, 12:49 AM EDT

It was the highly anticipated match-up between the top two teams in the Western Conference, and it didn’t disappoint.

The San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks went goal-for-goal in the opening period Tuesday, going to their respective dressing rooms tied 3-3 after 20 minutes.

The scoring didn’t come at nearly the same pace the rest of the evening, however things got heated when Sharks center Andrew Desjardins caught Blackhawks veteran winger Jamal Mayers with a devastating – and controversial – open-ice hit and was ejected from the game for a match penalty, hit to the head.

Blackhawks’ defenseman Duncan Keith immediately jumped in to fight Desjardins.  The Hawks, thanks to goals from Patrick Kane in the second and third periods, went on to a 5-3 victory.

As per Brodie Brazil, the Sharks rinkside reporter for CSN Bay Area, the NHL has rescinded the match penalty to Desjardins.

Mayers commented on the hit following the win.

“We’re trying to get that out of our game,” Mayers told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s unfortunate that happened but we got a power play out of it and most importantly, we won the game.”

Sharks head coach Todd McLellan took an opposite stance, believing Desjardins didn’t deserved a match penalty.

“It was a terrible call,” McLellan told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I don’t know if we were going to be able to come back or not, but at that point we were still in the game. We had every opportunity to win. We should have been on a four-minute power play.”

  1. hockeyflow33 - Feb 6, 2013 at 12:58 AM

    That’s a tough, tough play to call correctly as an official. You can certainly see why it was called as a match penalty

    • killerpgh - Feb 6, 2013 at 1:14 AM

      No it’s not. Unless you (and/or the 3 other officials on the ice with you) see it’s a head shot you can’t call it. Simple as that. When you’re giving a guy a 5 minute major and a GM you have to be 100% sure it’s the right call. You can’t just assume it was a head shot. I would rather see them miss a call and have Shanny’s correct it with supplemental discipline than guess that it was a head shot and kick a player out for no reason.

      • hockeyflow33 - Feb 6, 2013 at 1:22 AM

        When you watch the video, his head snaps back as if it was the point of contact. Do you honestly think the four officials huddled-up and just guessed it was a hit to the head?

      • stakex - Feb 6, 2013 at 1:37 AM

        Guessed it was? Probably not… but there did not appear to be a call on the play when it first happened. The play was not stopped until the fight broke out, and at least one ref didn’t have his arm up. In real time, it seems the refs felt it was a clean hit.

        Then Mayers lays on the ice for a minute, and Desjardins gets jumped and the refs start to second guess their own eyes and make a reactionary call well after the fact. Thats a poor way of doing things. If they didn’t think it was a penelty in real time, don’t make the call.

        Also, his head doesn’t snap back… his whole body (head included) moves in one direction because he was leveled.

      • killerpgh - Feb 6, 2013 at 1:40 AM

        I can guarantee they didn’t see a head shot. Because there wasn’t one. It was a perfect shoulder to shoulder hit. I’m not saying the refs job is easy. It’s far from it. But as a ref you can’t guess. Unless you are 100% sure ypu see that the head was contacted you can’t give guys major penalties and a game misconduct. It’s going to that hitting out of game if refs keep getting these calls wrong.

      • comeonnowguys - Feb 6, 2013 at 9:00 AM

        You can “guarantee” what four guys closer to the action saw–or didn’t see? His head did clearly fly back like it was hit, just as replay and slow-motion replay clearly shows no contact to the head was made.

        I don’t agree with major and the ejection, but let’s tone down the hyperbole, shall we?

  2. misterchainbluelightning - Feb 6, 2013 at 1:04 AM

    Great hit, great reaction, terrible call

  3. dt58 - Feb 6, 2013 at 1:10 AM

    Tough call for the refs. We have the benefit of slo-mo replays from every angle.

  4. bigtganks - Feb 6, 2013 at 1:10 AM

    Without benefit of a reply you can see why refs error on the cautious side. I have no problem with it. SJ isn’t winning or losing because Desjardin is or isn’t playing.

    • stakex - Feb 6, 2013 at 1:39 AM

      The side of caution is to not give out a penelty and allow the league to handle it.

  5. comeonnowguys - Feb 6, 2013 at 1:16 AM

    I don’t agree with it, especially the five and the hook, but I can understand why they called it. Even though Mayers had his head down and it was more of a shoulder hit, Desjardin (just baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarely) did a bit of a launch into a blindside hit.

    They have to know, just like the NFL, that the refs are going to be looking for anything close to that.

    Tough call to make and take.

  6. sheckyrimshot - Feb 6, 2013 at 1:16 AM

    first thing you learn in hockey, dont skate with your head down.

  7. shutyourfivehole - Feb 6, 2013 at 1:16 AM

    If you can’t make the call correctly in the NHL, which they pay you to do, go the hell back to the AHL or where ever you came from. Absolute horsesh*t call

    • hockeyflow33 - Feb 6, 2013 at 1:24 AM

      Do you know how many calls are made/not made during a game? This isn’t really a bad call.

      • zetaone - Feb 6, 2013 at 2:40 AM

        Well it certainly wasn’t a good call, or the right call, so what options are left ?

  8. sharksfan754 - Feb 6, 2013 at 1:17 AM

    If these plays could be reviewed on the fly they would’ve gotten the call right. Btw that idiot that you guys (NBC) mike milbury threw a tantrum when Liam brought up that issue during the flyers lighting game during one of the intermissions. Didn’t even take 3 hours to prove once again that he is one biggest idiots on television

  9. esracerx46 - Feb 6, 2013 at 1:20 AM

    Even Olczyk said he thought it looked clean. His left foot didnt leave until after contact was made. His elbow was not involved. It was a hard somewhat blindside hit to the upper body. If Desjardins or anyone else is going to make that hit and walk that razor blade of a line, you have to accept whatever way the refs call it. Some wind seemed to be lost in the immediate aftermath but it got rather chippy in the third. Nice win by the Hawks.

  10. dt58 - Feb 6, 2013 at 1:25 AM

    No, the biggest idiot on TV is the Sharks colour commentator. He proved it over and over again. Weird how the NHL keeps all these crappy refs when there is all you “experts” sitting on their fat a$$es that could be out there (if they knew how to skate…)

    • sharksfan754 - Feb 6, 2013 at 2:41 AM

      I’m actually playing pickup hockey @1145 tomorrow morning, so yes I can indeed skate

  11. stakex - Feb 6, 2013 at 1:44 AM

    You know, if guys keep getting thrown out of games for obviously clean hits, no one is going to want to throw an open ice check.I get the whole “protect the head” thing and I agree with it… but the refs need far better training in enforcing such calls if four guys are constnatly getting these calls horribly wrong.

    A simple short term solution? Each team gets one challange a game to be used on things like this….

  12. solo076 - Feb 6, 2013 at 6:35 AM

    Funny the same situation happened to the Blues last week. I think for this type of penalty there’s should review and then make the call. One look is all it would take to get it right with minimal delay.

    I have no problem with the intent of the call but on something like this that call is often game changing in that the team with the PP almost always scores. In this case 4 on 4 instead of a sharks PP was all Chicago needed.

  13. eggserino - Feb 6, 2013 at 7:31 AM

    I said it on another site. Make those goofs up in Toronto watching goals also responsible for reviewing match penalties. Simple. It’s not like they have to review every goal. As well, I just saw something that indicated that Shanahan has in-game review capability in NYC. It’s not like the NHL doesn’t have the technology already in place.

    • eggserino - Feb 6, 2013 at 9:50 AM

      To someone who “thumbs down” the comment: please explain why this is a bad idea.

      • zetaone - Feb 6, 2013 at 11:43 AM

        People are lazy assholes and apparently can’t be arsed to spend 37 seconds to create an account and type words.

  14. columbiannecktie - Feb 6, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    According to the NHL rules, there was nothing wrong with that hit, however when a player is accepting a pass in his skates from behind him, he is obviously going to be looking behind, and if an opposing player runs him over while he is accepting the pass, while he may not necessarily deserve to be penalized or suspended, he does deserve to have his ass beat in a fight.

    Again, hits like those aren’t necessarily illegal, but you are targeting a vulnerable player and should be prepared for a fight shortly after the hit.

    • themohel - Feb 6, 2013 at 10:53 AM

      Agreed. It was an incorrect call on the original hit, so the Sharks got a 5 and game they shouldn’t have received. That was mostly offset by the dumb instigator rule giving Keith 19 minutes off. Hawks lose Keith for a period; Sharks lose Desjardins for the rest of the game – edge Sharks on that trade. Really was handled well on the ice – 5 for fighting for each would have been fine.

    • hagigun - Feb 6, 2013 at 10:58 AM

      I see what you are saying…but Mayers should be upset at the pass in his skates.

      When a WR gets hung out to dry by his QB because a pass is too high or way behind him, should we get mad at the defender for putting on a punishing hit? Heck no. We always hear how the WR should go chat with his QB about protecting him.

      Same applies here. Whomever made that pass, don’t do it. From what I saw it was more of a loose puck anyway, but Mayers was not in a good position to reach down and back for it…so don’t DO IT! He knows what will happen as much as anyone. Absolutely pathetic comments by Mayers. He is now on my most hated hockey player list. You give all tough hockey players a bad name.

      • columbiannecktie - Feb 6, 2013 at 11:20 AM

        It was a bad pass, and those passes do put the recipient in a bad position, but unlike football, you do no NEED to bulldoze a guy. To reiterate, not an illegal hit, but a bit of a dick move, hence to fights that ensue after most of these hits.

  15. hagigun - Feb 6, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    Horrible call. This flat out affected the outcome of the game. A guy makes as clean of an open ice hit as you can, and then gets attacked for it. “4on4″. What a joke!

    Guys jumping in to fight when someone on their squad LEGALLY gets his clocked cleaned…that should be the Match Penalty. I am so sick of guys fighting when clean hits are delivered. It’s part of the game. May as well drop the gloves when guys complete saucer passes or win face-offs, “How dare you beat my teammate on that draw!!” It’s not sticking up for guys, it makes your guy look like a wuss, someone who can’t hack it in the game and needs big brother to beat up all the other people playing clean hockey.

    Guess what, plenty of danglers can’t play in the league because they skate with their heads down and would get smashed in the NHL. That’s just part of the deal. You skate with your head down, you SHOULD pay for it. If we start calling crap like this, no one will hit anymore and people will skate with their heads down. Is that what we want?

    Shame on Jamal Mayers too for his comments. I figured a good, hard nosed player like that would take ownership and say he got caught with his head down and paid for it. Instead he spouts off about eliminating plays like that from the game!?!? I hope he meant “idiots looking down and behind them for pucks in their skates in the NHL.” Hits like this are what forces people to keep their head up. It’s what Hockey is all about!

    Makes me even more sick that the refs had NO call planned until Mayers struggled to get up and then the fight occurred. These refs should get fined/suspended. This wasn’t some minor screw up call, it swung a 4mn power play at a crucial time with a great penalty killer being put away.

    • comeonnowguys - Feb 6, 2013 at 2:25 PM

      Wait, you think Mayers was trying to sell it the call?

      I wish you would have led with that so I would have known to stop reading right away.

      • hagigun - Feb 6, 2013 at 5:37 PM

        No, I was not implying he was acting or selling…he was hurt for sure.

        What I am saying is the refs should be ashamed because they did not have a penalty called, until the fight broke out and saw how Mayer was “injured/hurt” so “obviously” it must have been a head shot.

        But based on more recent comments, the Refs DIDN’T have a penalty called (Correctly), it was the linesman who made the call (Incorrectly). He is the one who reported the call to the Refs.

  16. bhawksrule - Feb 6, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    While it can be agreed upon that it was a terrible call you CANNOT say that it affected the outcome of this game. The sharks HANDED the game away to the Hawks with turnovers and silly penalties of their own (Niemi’s goof up stick handling cost you another power play chance). The game winning goal came on EVEN STRENGTH 4-4 and the Sharks committed a terrible turnover in their own end and Toews/Kane capitalized.

    Terrible call, yes. Changed the outcome of the game? Not at all.
    Sharks handed this game away to the Hawks and that’s the bottom line.

    • bhawksrule - Feb 6, 2013 at 12:55 PM

      Dont forget, you also gave up 2 goal leads, twice. Then lost by 2.
      The refs caused that to happen to, right?

      • comeonnowguys - Feb 6, 2013 at 2:28 PM

        Sorry, had a case of the melodramas.

      • sjsblitz - Feb 6, 2013 at 3:37 PM

        Hawks fan and Sharks fan here so dont jump on me for this BUT Chi would have been asessed a about a 4 minute penalty. Anything could have happened in that period of time, including Kane’s GWG. Though the Hawks did overall win and the penalties that were given out didnt affect the game entirely, SJ could have either gotten a PPG out of it or at least the Kane goal couldnt have existed. Still a great game, Chi earned that win. Just a controversial blown call.

    • comeonnowguys - Feb 6, 2013 at 2:27 PM

      You’re right. The Blackhawks are a terrible team. Chicago should have thanked the Sharks for even letting them skate on their ice.

    • hagigun - Feb 6, 2013 at 5:47 PM

      Yes it did affect the outcome. I am not a Hawks or Sharks fan, just a fan of good Hockey.

      Instead of getting 4mn of PP time after a HUGE clean check that gets the crowd going and watching your guy beat up Keith who had no business fighting, the Sharks get saddled with a Match Penalty, lose their PP time and have to kill a minute of PP time?

      How about every time the Hawk’s play, the first clean check I see the Hawks throw, I let the opposing team instigate a fight. Then assess a Match penalty to the Hawks, kick the player out, then give the other team a 1mn power play?

      I guess that’s good with you because it doesn’t affect and will not affect the outcome of the game. I bet Quenville may have an issue with doing this. You know why? Because it can and will affect the outcomes of games!!

      Get a clue. I am not claiming THIS is why the Sharks lost, or blaming the refs for the entire game, but it DOES affect the outcomes when huge calls are blown. Not just some 2mn minor, we are talking about 4mn of PP time in a tie game, assessing 5mn the other way and kicking a player out. Killing any momentum a hit like that did to jack up the home crowd.

    • joethorntonisclutch - Feb 6, 2013 at 7:00 PM

      It did change the outcome of the game. The 4 on 4 should have been a Sharks power play, and I can’t imagine that Kane would have scored while on the PK or bench. Blown call, blown game.

      Tough time to be a physical player in the NHL… The things you do to help your team (delivering checks) end up costing your team the game. Sigh.

  17. shortsxit34 - Feb 6, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    Absolutely the wrong call, but I’m not going to throw the refs under the bus in this one.

    The officials don’t have the benefit of replay like we do. They have to make the call while seeing the play at real speed and at ice level. The call was wrong, but it’s also wrong to blame the refs. The issue isn’t horrible officiating, the problem is that the game is just getting too fast.

    I’ve *never* been a proponent of video replay on penalty calls, but maybe it really is time to look into it for certain situations.

  18. hosewater2 - Feb 6, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Clean hit on a player in possession of the puck.

    Props to Duncan Keith for jumping a guy and still getting his arse kicked.

  19. bleedingteal4life - Feb 6, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    Clean hit and he won the fight.

  20. racnon - Feb 6, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    If the officials enforced NHL rule #42 there’d be fewer controversies. Look it up.

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