TORONTO (AP) — Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa avoided a suspension from the NHL for his hit on Nashville defenseman Dan Hamhuis and will be in the lineup for Game 6 of the first-round, Western Conference series.
NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell conducted a hearing with Hossa on Sunday and decided that no further penalty would be assessed. Hossa was spared, in part, because he is not a repeat offender.
Hossa shoved Hamhuis from behind into the boards Saturday and drew a major penalty late in regulation that carried into overtime. Hossa returned to the ice and scored the winning goal on his first shift back, giving Chicago a 5-4 victory and a 3-2 series lead.
"I have made the decision that this play does not warrant supplemental discipline after considering all of the facts, including reviewing the video and speaking with Mr. Hossa," said Campbell, the NHL's executive vice president and director of hockey operations.
Hamhuis said Sunday that he is sore, but added that he expects to play in Game 6 at Nashville on Monday night.
Predators coach Barry Trotz compared the hit on Hamhuis to one delivered by Washington's Alex Ovechkin that injured Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell last month. Campbell broke his collarbone on the play, and Ovechkin was given a two-game suspension.
"This play is distinguishable from recent incidents by a number of factors," Campbell said, "including the degree of contact involved; the fact that the consequences of the play do not appear to be as severe; that this was a hockey play involving a race for the puck; that Mr. Hossa is not a repeat offender, and that the call of a major penalty by the referee was significant and appropriate."
Because Ovechkin was also suspended for two games earlier this season for a knee-to-knee hit on Carolina defenseman Tim Gleason, he was punished more harshly for his hit on Campbell because of his status as a repeat offender.