Skip to content

No suspension or fine for Kings’ Nolan regarding hit on Coyotes’ Klesla

Sep 16, 2013, 8:12 PM EDT

jordannolangetty Getty Images

The NHL decided not to suspend Los Angeles Kings forward Jordan Nolan for his controversial hit on Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Rostislav Klesla.

Click here for the video explanation.

Shanahan notes that Nolan leads with his shoulder (not his elbow) and the hit is “not late by NHL standards.” He believes that the head wasn’t targeted on the hit. Ultimately, it appears that the league believes that it was a “hard, legal check.”

No doubt about it, the Kings probably agree and the Coyotes almost certainly don’t, but the bottom line is that Nolan won’t miss a moment of ice time while Klesla recovers with concussion-like symptoms.

  1. killerpgh - Sep 16, 2013 at 8:21 PM

    Even after watching Shanny’s video (twice) I’m still not 100% sure why some hits equal suspension and some don’t. I guessing that is the most difficult things for players as well.

    • sabatimus - Sep 18, 2013 at 11:54 AM

      Shanahan is a disgrace. The principle point of contact (intentional or not) was the head, and it amazes me that he doesn’t see this…or it would amaze me if Mikey had a track record of being consistent.

  2. bhawksforever9 - Sep 16, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    Should have had his head up,yes, and he was hit with shoulder , not elbow, but he still sent shoulder to head, that is why he has a concussion and whiplash. You can see the head snap left when shoulder lands. There will be hell to pay for this since this guy got 20 games in the OHL a while back. He’s just going to do it again. No suspend has opened it up for Western teams goons to plaster people : Ralphie, Carcillo, Nolan, and others. Good luck Edmonton in that group .

    • awade9233 - Sep 17, 2013 at 12:22 AM

      Can’t believe the video didnt bother to mention that 20 game suspension…it’s just ridiculous. I wish shanny would have taken the job in calgary. even if he makes all the right decisions from now on, he will always be ridiculed for his inconsistent and absurd decisions. Oh well…I’m just happy to have hockey back in September after missing it last year.

      • dueman - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:07 AM

        Why on Earth would Shanahan have to mention a suspension that a player received in another league? Why would he have to mention anything at all when a hit is deemed clean?

        People need to stop looking at things through their favorite teams colored glasses, and just look at the play as it stands. He takes you through the hit frame by frame – what more do you want? Nolan hit Klesla square in the chest and carried through his check. His feet left the ground after impact. The hit was clean.

        If everybody keeps crying for suspensions every time someone gets hurt, they’ll eventually just take checking out of the game and let the women join the league. Is that what everybody wants?

      • awade9233 - Sep 17, 2013 at 3:30 PM

        Because nolan’s history in the NHL isn’t too extensive. Does it really defy all logic to look into a player’s history even in other leagues when it comes to dicipline?

    • sunderlanding - Sep 17, 2013 at 3:48 PM

      You are allowed to hit the head. It just can’t be the principal point of contact. There seems to be a lot of confusion on this rule. Just hitting the head is NOT an automatic suspension.

    • bquinzon - Sep 17, 2013 at 11:59 PM

      Shanahan has a guideline to follow and it should be noted that the decision was listed “under NHL standards” meaning that even though he might believe it was borderline, he cannot veer away from the rules as they are written. Consistency is determined if you stay within rules that are written and not to interpret them by one’s feelings, and rule accordingly. The #1 player rule Klesla forgot was to “KEEP YOUR HEAD UP” his mistake was watching the puck and not his surroundings. Most major, open ice impact hits happen at the blue line when one is looking for that counter attack or rush to get out of the defensive zone. Hope he recovers 100% and soon.

  3. jjregan21 - Sep 16, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    Another kings player not getting suspended. Not surprised

    • nightfireop - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:54 PM

      another biased reader, not surprised.

      • jjregan21 - Sep 16, 2013 at 11:31 PM

        You must not be familiar with Shannahan (probably and bandwagon kings fan) but he’s not consistent and gives preference to star players

      • Anoesis - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:19 AM

        Since when is Nolan a star player?

      • yotesfan61 - Sep 17, 2013 at 10:39 AM

        Pretty sure he wasn’t referring to Nolan as the star here. More so a reference to the fact that this hit was alot like the Torres/Hossa hit. Hossa = star = huge suspension. Klesla = Not a star = Pass

      • comeonnowguys - Sep 18, 2013 at 8:49 AM

        Except Raffi has a well-documented history of doing the exact type of hit he did to Hossa.

        I’m not sure I agree with no fine or suspension, but you can’t compare the two exactly at face value.

        BTW, when did Kings fans get sole ownership of objectivity? I missed that memo.

    • ron05342 - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:52 AM

      @jjregan21: Guess you don’t like the Kings, or their fans. Tough shít for you. Gotta hurt to see your team continually get punked by L.A., your big brother in the desert.

      Get over yourself. The Kings have been around 30 years longer than the Coyotes. Most Kings fans have forgotten more hockey then Coyotes fans know. Calling a team’s fans “bandwagon” is just lame, about as lame as that outdated “Beat L.A.” chant that I even heard from a D-Backs crowd tonight.

      Please. Get over yourself and have a nice long cry in the corner and then you will feel much better about life.

      • sporkov - Sep 17, 2013 at 2:15 PM

        ron05342, I am going to assume you are joking here. Most of the hockey fans in Phoenix are from Canada and the northern United States. I played into college and refereed college games. Shannanhammered generally lets the Kings slide. Yes, there are some real Kings fans, but most of the people who claim to be them are bandwagon, just like Phoenix.

        This hit was clearly to the head. Shannahan should know about this from all of the hits he took and gave to the head.

    • blomfeld - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:56 AM

      Eat ‘S’ pal !

      • ianrockskinda - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:59 PM

        WOW!!!, nice come back

  4. billyhauntswizards - Sep 16, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    looked clean to me.

    • pxland - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:16 PM


  5. blackhawksdynasty - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    Having had the chance to see this play (finally) – yikes….tough call. Just goes to show that sometimes it’s nearly impossible for officials to make the right calls in real time. And Shanahan’s job is one that I don’t envy.

    • mp1131211 - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:31 PM

      Real time, this would have been really hard. That’s why no one is criticizing the refs. Shanahan et al have more than enough time to go over these types of hits, usually from multiple angles. They should be getting it right every time.

      I think when it comes down to it, the rule is just crappily written and is just subjective: What were the intentions? Was it avoidable? What mood is Shanahan in? How is the player perceived in the eyes of Shanny? How critical would a suspension be at that point in the season? Will kind of statement will a suspension (or lack of one) make?

  6. bauxjangles - Sep 16, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    What’s dirty about the play? I don’t see a reason to suspend Nolan. You can’t suspend a player because someone got hurt. Heads up hockey. It hurts when your players forget about that because they pay for it every time.

    • awade9233 - Sep 17, 2013 at 12:16 AM

      Shanny is always going to be questioned now. Honestly, do you think raffi torres, cooke, or carcillo would have gotten off with no discipline for the same hit? It definitely could have been seen as launching upward into the head, even if the initial point of contact is the body…but he didn’t even consider that, or even so much mention the fact that he had a major suspension in the minors.

      • dueman - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:12 AM

        “or even so much mention the fact that he had a major suspension in the minors”

        Since when do suspensions in the minors EVER have anything to do with the NHL period?

      • bauxjangles - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:53 AM

        It could have been seen as launching upward into the head even though he hit him in the chest? So shanahan should have suspended him and explained it with “he didn’t hit him in the head, but we are almost positive he meant to…” And to further explain “c’mon…look at him. Plus, he was suspended in the minors. And his mite hockey team mates said he was mean. The guys got a history.”


      • awade9233 - Sep 17, 2013 at 3:35 PM

        a 20 game suspension in the minor leagues shows that there is history. And Yes, the initial point of contact was the chest, but he launched himself upward…what is above the chest? the head. Contact was made to the head. Not saying he was headhunting, but he still hit the head.

      • bquinzon - Sep 18, 2013 at 12:12 AM

        It was not the same hit, clearly your vision is fogged by your passion for your team. The injury occured because of the situation and position of the players at impact. Nolan’s intent was to check Klesla but not to target his head ala Torres lifting his elbow with the intent to make contact with Hossa’s head or jaw. If Shane Doan was to be delivering that exact hit that Nolan dished out, you would be screaming it was CLEAN

  7. sjsharks66 - Sep 16, 2013 at 11:39 PM

    So he hit his head ( accidental contact ) and the player is injured? Sounds like a certain suspension that happened in the playoffs… Hm….

    • bauxjangles - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:55 AM

      He DIDN’T hit his head. The player was injured but did the citation of whiplash mean nothing to you? Quit being a bitter bastard. Save your ammo for when you have to defend Torres.

      • hockey412 - Sep 17, 2013 at 7:57 AM

        He’s got a point – compare/contrast this hit to the one in the playoffs (I’m not a fan of either team, or the Yotes), compare this to Gryba on Eller….the inconsistency just doesn’t make sense.

    • ianrockskinda - Sep 17, 2013 at 2:06 PM

      You gotta be kidding me. How can you possibly compare those hits? It’s so funny to read these comments. If the hits are rev ersed you would all see them differently. Suck it up, the games are won on the scoreboard and it will always be popular to hate L.A. Envy is an ugly emotion.

  8. blomfeld - Sep 17, 2013 at 2:20 AM


    Upon finally seeing the video, it’s now clearly evident that Nolan was guilty of nothing more than a ‘pure’ hockey play which was completely consistent with the ‘red-blooded’ spirit of the game that we all grew up loving and playing. So if you < 40 'somethings' want to whine about this, then perhaps it's time for you people to consider WNBA season ticket packages? God forbid if you pansies ever 'youtube' what Howe and Lindsay did on a nightly basis ! I will never forget that awful hit which Pat Quinn delivered to Bobby Orr back in the day. Yet Orr, as the 'glorious' man he was, simply got up, shook it off and went on to eternal glory !

    • hockey412 - Sep 17, 2013 at 8:00 AM

      Lots of clean hockey plays were suspended last year. Torres, Gryba had similar hits…and were suspended.

      Not a fan of either team myself, but based on precedent set, and especially given the new “clarification” of hits to the head violations, it does make you wonder if the inconsistency will continue this year, OR if this is a sign that they are no longer suspending hits like the ones we saw last year.

      Either way, Nolan is trash, but somehow managed to knock out two Yotes with one hit. Well played, I guess?

  9. nicknyhc - Sep 17, 2013 at 2:49 AM

    That’s a great clean hit. Stop crying.

    I’m an east coast fan that couldn’t care less about either team involved. Sucks a player got hurt, but it was a solid hit.

  10. areaman714 - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:09 AM

    As a Ducks fan, I am happy about the no suspension . . . I would want Nolan on the ice as much as possible . . . he is a slug of a hockey player . . .

    • bauxjangles - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:55 PM

      You still suck, but that’s nice

  11. aerowings7 - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:49 AM

    I question the part about him not launching into Klesla. Where did he get the momentum to leap from the ice if he didn’t jump into the hit? Had he not launched, he would’ve probably either landed towards the direction he was hitting or fallen backwards. I don’t think a suspension was necessary, but charging should have been called for sure

    • hockey412 - Sep 17, 2013 at 8:09 AM

      Finally a comment that makes sense. Charging might as well be written out of the rulebook…it’s basically become part of the game – so much so that if a charge WAS called, fans would be skeptical of the integrity of the ref that called it.

      They need to either strike it, or enforce it.

      • bauxjangles - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:59 PM

        It’s a hard one because it was deemed a good, clean hit. Not charging, not aiming for the head, not a hit from the side. How much momentum is ok and how much would you consider charging? He only slightly left his feet after the hit because his whole body was trying to knock the player on his ass.

      • hockey412 - Sep 17, 2013 at 2:15 PM

        It was deemed roughing, and given a penalty, I believe. Not the same as a charge, which is defined:

        “Charging shall mean the actions of a player who, as a result of distance traveled, shall violently check an opponent in any manner. A “charge” may be the result of a check into the boards, into the goal frame or in open ice.

        42.2 Minor Penalty – The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a minor penalty, based on the degree of violence of the check, to a player guilty of charging an opponent.

        42.3 Major Penalty – The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a major penalty, based on the degree of violence of the check, to a player guilty of charging an opponent (see 42.5).

        42.4 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 by charging.

        42.5 Game Misconduct Penalty – When a major penalty is imposed under this rule for a foul resulting in an injury to the face or head of an opponent, a game misconduct shall be imposed.”

        So the hit to the head aspect is only one aspect. Point is, for suspensions the only thing the league looks at is ‘was it to the head’. It was an illegal hit, was penalized, (actually MIS-penalized), and should have been reviewed in that regard.

  12. joey4id - Sep 17, 2013 at 10:03 AM

    Shanny is applyng the rule as it is written. So there is no case for a suspension. However, they should review how the rule is written to further protect the players. The video clearly shows Nolan feet were on the ice at the moment of impact. However, Nolan’s feet leave the ice immediately after his shoulder makes contact with Klesla’s body. This means that he propelled himself upwards and timed his hit perfectly. A player should never launch himself like a human rockey into the body of another. As made evident by the video Nolan clearly launched himself otherwise his feet would never have left the ice. Right call! NHL needs to rewrite the rule.

  13. ntvd7 - Sep 17, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    Note to Rostislav Klesla – Keep your head UP

    You’re not in Europe anymore

    And Nolan did you a favor

    • sporkov - Sep 17, 2013 at 2:22 PM

      ntvd7 are you challenged? Klesla has been in North America since 1998 and in the NHL since 2000. Try to make sense.

      • ntvd7 - Sep 17, 2013 at 3:16 PM

        Technically speaking, he’s still European :)

        He doesn’t look like he’s been playing here very long with that display

  14. jkaflagg - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    It’s interesting that the video includes a comment about a players responsibility to ” be aware of his surroundings, including impending checks”… other words, KEEP YOUR HEAD UP !!!! Shanahan probably heard those words the first time he hit the ice as a pee wee, and remembered them all the way through a Hall of Fame career; and along with the lack of evidence against Nolan actually doing anything illegal, he was probably glad to remind players that they also responsible for taking care of themselves on the ice as well….

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1703)
  2. P. Kane (1322)
  3. S. Matthias (1183)
  4. D. Carcillo (1068)
  5. P. Datsyuk (1046)