Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bogosian avoids suspension, and here's why

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A hot topic on Wednesday was Jets defenceman Zach Bogosian escaping suspension for his major boarding penalty late in Tuesday's game against Minnesota.

He was tossed out of the game at 18:54 of the third period when he pushed a turning Wild forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard, who was bloodied by his head contacting the boards. Bouchard turned to his left and towards a position where his head and face were going towards the boards as Bogosian pushed him.

If one reviews the league's supplementary discipline cases involving boarding, you're quite likely to find no player has been suspended on a boarding play where the "victim" turned suddenly at the last second, as Bouchard did in Winnipeg.

It's probably wise to speculate: "What would have happened if Bouchard had not turned?" He may have hit his hip or shoulder against the boards.

"Maybe he would have been knocked down, maybe not. But other than that, it would be a wild leap to say the damage would have been the same.

According to Rule 41, "... in determining whether such contact could have been avoided, the circumstances of the check, including whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the check or whether the check was unavoidable can be considered. This balance must be considered by the referees when applying this rule."

It's clear the referees either didn't consider Bouchard turning or didn't see him turning. It's also clear the league did, when it did not act further against Bogosian on Wednesday.

Does this mean the referees were wrong? It seems possible, but we'll never know.

Bogosian, for his part, played it straight on Wednesday.

"I have not seen the hit yet," he said. "I went home last night, went to bed and then came here for practice.

"I'm not really sure how it looks on video."

He didn't have much to say about the hit.

"I remember the play, I was trying to cut it off behind the net," he said. "From there, it was unfortunate, obviously I hope the guy's OK. It wasn't my intentions to put him into the boards like that."

THE... STINKY GLOVE? So there is Bryan Little celebrating the game-winning goal over Minnesota the other night when he is mobbed by his teammates, particularly Dustin Byfuglien, who rubs his glove in the hero's face. And then Blake Wheeler does the same. Is this the new Jet goal-celebration?

"Yeah, and Wheeler was giving me some facewashes and punches on the bench, too," said Little.

"We just like to have fun. This is a group that likes to stay pretty loose and we're all good friends on the team. It was just in the heat of the moment... we just like to have fun like that.

"Buff sometimes does some crazy things in there," Wheeler added. "I got in late and saw him giving it to everyone so I had to give it to him, too. Everyone is just having fun. A big goal is scored and everyone was trying to give each other a facewash. You see it a lot after teams win when they get in there and start messing guys helmets up.

"If we keep scoring big goals in big games like that I'm sure we'll keep bringing it out."

 

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 15, 2011 C2

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