Montreal Canadiens: Michael Pezzetta Suspended Two Games For High Hit

Mar 12, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Michael Pezzetta. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 12, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Michael Pezzetta. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports /

The Montreal Canadiens lost their most recent game by a score of 8-4 to the Washington Capitals.

It was not a flattering score by any means and games like that typically lead to some rough stuff in the latter moments.

That was certainly the case on Saturday night.

Canadiens forward Michael Pezzetta was called for a minor penalty when he hit Capitals winger T.J. Oshie with a high hit. Pezzetta was coming from deep in the Caps zone when Oshie turned and moved a puck up ice out of his own end. Just after sending the puck to a teammate, Oshie was met with Pezzetta, who finished his check a little too high.

There was just 4:16 to play in a 7-4 game at the time of the hit. Pezzetta was called for an illegal check to the head and served his minor penalty before returning to the game. In fact, he returned in less than two minutes because Oshie, who had been the recipient of the hit, scored on the ensuing power play.

The ruling on the ice for a high hit was a correct call, and in an unusual occurrence, it seems like the Department of Player Safety actually got one right as well.

As you can see in the video, Pezzetta makes direct contact to the head of Oshie and it is the principle point of contact. He doesn’t catch him in the chest and then the head or graze the shoulder on the way to hitting him in the head. It is a straight shot to the head.

Also, it really could have been avoided. Though Oshie had recently turned to make a play, Pezzetta could have gotten a little lower and made contact to the chest area instead of the head.

In the NHL, the onus is on the player making the hit to do everything he can to avoid contact to the head. Pezzetta didn’t do that so he will sit for two games.

The Habs next two opponents are the Minnesota Wild and Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday and Thursday night this week at the Bell Centre.

Pezzetta will be eligible to return to the lineup on Saturday night against the Ottawa Senators. That promises to be another feisty affair after Brendan Gallagher called out Sens winger Tim Stuetzle for laying on the ice and embellishing to get calls.

Pezzetta, who has eight points and 74 penalty minutes in 47 games this season, will surely get the call to rejoin the lineup for that contest.

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