Jamie McGinn not suspended for hit on Aaron Rome

SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 20: Kevin Bieksa #3 of the Vancouver Canucks and Canucks team doctor Bill Regan (top right) watch Aaron Rome #29 of the Canucks leave the ice after taking a hard check into the glass from Jamie McGinn #64 of the San Jose Sharks (not in photo) in the third period in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs at HP Pavilion on May 20, 2011 in San Jose, California. McGinn received a 5-minute major penalty for boarding and an automatic game misconduct. The Sharks defeated the Canucks 4-3. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

According to Dave Lozo of NHL.com Sharks forward Jamie McGinn will not be suspended for his hit on Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome. The hit took place in the third period of game three in the Western Conference Finals.

Aaron Rome did not return to the game following the hit, having to be helped off the ice by team doctor Bill Regan and an assorted group of Canucks' trainers.

McGinn was assessed a five minute boarding major and a game misconduct on the play.

Here is what the NHL rulebook states in regards to boarding penalties.

41.1 Boarding – A boarding penalty shall be imposed on any player or goalkeeper who checks an opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to be thrown violently in the boards. The severity of the penalty, based upon the degree of violence of the impact with the boards, shall be at the discretion of the Referee.

There is an enormous amount of judgment involved in the application of this rule by the Referees. The onus is on the player applying the check to ensure his opponent is not in a vulnerable position and if so, he must avoid the contact. However, there is also a responsibility on the player with the puck to avoid placing himself in a dangerous and vulnerable position. This balance must be considered by the Referees when applying this rule.

41.2 Minor Penalty – The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a minor penalty, based on the degree of violence of the impact with the boards, to a player guilty of boarding an opponent.

41.3 Major Penalty – The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a major penalty, based on the degree of violence of the impact with the boards, to a player guilty of boarding an opponent (see 41.5).

41.4 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 boarding.

41.5 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.

Video and thoughts after the jump.

 

As we can see in the video, McGinn begins coasting into the hit when he reaches the near-side circle. He uses his momentum to carry him into the play, meaning that a charging call is not applicable here. Furthermore, McGinn does not make principal contact with Rome's head and does not hit him between the numbers-- at the 0:50 mark of the clip we see that he actually turns his body away from the hit, clipping Rome's left shoulder and driving him into the boards.

The only issue from the play, and the likely reason it went to the League office, is that McGinn is lining up his hit all the way throughout the zone. He does not make any attempt to play the puck or cut Rome's angle short, with his vision squared solely on making the hit. Furthermore, the fact that this was the second game misconduct of the postseason (his first coming in game six of San Jose's first round series against Los Angeles) means that the League Office obviously wanted to make a statement that they will be reviewing players who have prior history with these types of hits.

Most importantly, the optics of the play and Rome's subsequent injury from the hit played a large part in the review as well.

The League got this one right-- McGinn received a five minute major as well as a game misconduct in lieu of his hit on Rome, making it sufficient punishment for a play that has generated debate as to whether it even warranted a major due to the fact that it is a common hit in the NHL postseason. At that stage in the game however, McGinn must be cognizant of the score and situation of opposing defenseman-- and while you never want to ask a player to turn his motor off, especially when that motor is the primary reason he has been effective, the microscope will clearly be on him going forward.

McGinn's physical play throughout game three resulted in two injuries to Canucks defenseman, as both Christian Ehrhoff and Aaron Rome are questionable for game four tomorrow afternoon in San Jose. The newly assembled fourth line of Jamal Mayers, Andrew Desjardins, and McGinn was strong on the puck and active in the offensive zone, accounting for the fourth lines most effective game of this postseason at even strength. However, their issues with penalty trouble (Desjardins played part in two separate 5v3's in the second, McGinn's major resulted in two power play goals for Vancouver) is something that will need to be harnessed if they hope to continue receiving playing time.

In other Sharks news, Mark Emmons of Working The Corners is reporting that Logan Couture practiced today but Jason Demers did not.

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