With less than a minute remaining in the game against the Canucks on Tuesday, Henrik Sedin was camped out in front of Sergei Bobrovsky waiting for a pass/rebound. As the Jackets gained possession of the puck and looked to move it out of the zone, Sedin managed to get his stick up and into/through the mask of Sergei Bobrovsky, hitting him directly in the right eye. After viewing the play on several replays it began to look like, and speculation started to spread, that Henrik might have done it intentionally/maliciously.
I was surprised to see there was almost no fuss about the play today and no videos of the incident on YouTube so I decided to put one together. The full video of the incident is below:
The question is… did he do it on purpose? At the time I was fairly confident a player of his skill level couldn’t have done that accidentally if he tried.
But one of the replays may have changed my mind.
Here are several GIFs of the incident:
The first 3 are GIFs of the the 3 main camera angles of the incident itself:
Steve Mason’s expression pretty much tells the story:
This GIF is the one that swayed me closer to saying it was an accident:
If you watch Henrik’s right hand in this close up/slow motion replay you can see he puts his hand on Nikitin’s back and pushes him forward. It appears that the small push from his right hand is what caused his stick to swing backwards and catch Bob in the mask. My primary concern was that if you knew you’d gotten your stick into the goalie’s mask accidentally you’d probably pull the stick out instead of pushing it in farther if it was an accident. The fact that he pushed it farther is what had me convinced it was intentional. However, once I noticed his right hand pushing forward on Nikitin it explains the motion of the stick.
I’m now willing to give Sedin the benefit of the doubt and say this was an accident but there’s absolutely no excuse for the refs to miss this and not call a 2 minute minor for high sticking.
My favorite moment from the entire event is the reaction of one of the fans in the stands after Bob appeared to be OK: