The Pittsburgh Penguins won Game 2 of their opening round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets by the score of 4-1 on Friday night.
Columbus Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert, who scored 10 goals and had five assists for 15 points in 65 games for the team during the regular season, had a bad night and was frustrated with the way his team performed.
Unfortunately for Tom Kuhnhackl of the Penguins, Calvert took out his anger on him at the end of the game with just 35.9 seconds remaining in the out-of-reach contest.
And it wasn’t in the form of a fight like many NHL disputes are settled.
Calvert broke his stick over the back of Kuhnhackl’s neck area.
Watch the incredibly dangerous shot below.
As you can see, not only did Calvert’s stick snap after the impact, but he also threw in a hit for extra measure as Kuhnhackl was falling to the ground.
After losing 3-1 in the series opener, the underdog Blue Jackets are now in trouble in the series. Additionally, the NHL will likely suspend Calvert for the hit, despite the fact that he only landed a two-minute penalty for it during the game. Due to the NHL’s increased focus on player safety, they will likely come down hard on Calvert, especially since the stick breaking had an added dramatic effect to what was already a dirty blindside hit to begin with.
Ironically, after the Game 1 loss, Calvert explained that his team needed to not only focus on being physical, which is what they’re known for, but needed to mainly think about getting shots on goal, thus taking the emphasis off of brutalizing their opponents.
He didn’t live by his own words on Friday night.
Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reported that the hit has already been flagged for league review, which is not a good sign for Calvert.
Al Muir of Sports Illustrated thinks the act was egregious enough to even earn a playoff-long suspension.
Since they're now down 2-0 in the series, a playoff-long suspension might only last two more games, but if Columbus were to come back and advance, it'd certainly be harsh.
Mark Lazerus, Chicago Blackhawks beat writer for the Chicago Sun-Times echoed Muir’s beliefs on the subject.
Game 3 is set for Sunday, and it’s highly unlikely that Calvert will be on the ice for that matchup and perhaps for the rest of the series as a result of his dangerous and cowardly hit.
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