Dustin Byfuglien is one of NHL's biggest goons, recording 124 penalty minutes last season.
The 30-year-old collected another two penalty minutes during the game against Montreal this week for his hit on Brendan Gallagher. However, the hit was more than just a hit.
The 260-pound behemoth sent the speeding Gallagher cartwheeling into the boards, causing massive outrage amongst the Canadien's bench. Byfuglien appeared to hit Gallagher on the head with his elbow, which is illegal under NHL's new rules for player safety.
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Luckily, Gallagher was not hurt. The two men exchanged words after the incident and Byfuglien was sent to the penalty box for his actions.
However, after the apparent headshot, Byfuglien was expected to miss a few games due to a suspension. This did not happen as the former Chicago defenseman pleaded his case to the Department of Safety on November 3.
The Department of Safety accepted Byfuglien's plea and after reviewing the video replays of the incident, they decided not to give Byfuglien any supplemental action.
The Department of Safety justified their ruling after stating that Dustin Byfuglien only braced himself for the imminent impact while Gallagher failed to do so until the last moment.
As a result, the apparent elbow to the head hit was a complete accident, and was mostly Gallagher's fault. Therefore, it is not a malicious headshot and Byfuglien is now cleared of any additional consequences.
Dustin Byfuglien is on his last year of his contract with the Winnipeg Jets. The former eighth-round pick is one of the league's best offensive defensemen, scoring 18 goals and contributing 27 assists last season. The Jets are lucky to have Byfuglien's massive frame in their lineup for their game against the Leafs this week.
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