Late in the first period of Thursday night’s game with the Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators forward Patric Hornqvist was assessed a major penalty for elbowing and a game misconduct as a result of a collision with Boston’s Tyler Seguin.
Seguin had the puck on the right half boards inside the Bruins zone. He had trouble controlling the puck and had his head down as Hornqvist came from the slot toward the rookie. While Hornqvist’s elbow was up before the hit, the back of his left shoulder appeared to come into contact with Seguin’s face, leaving Seguin doubled-over. He did sustain a cut to his left ear which required seven stitches to close according to Comcast Sports New England.
Referee Brad Watson was behind the play and was the one who made the call. Since Watson deemed the hit to come from Hornqvist’s elbow and Seguin was injured on the play, NHL Rule 45.3 came into play. It reads:
"45.3 Major Penalty- A major penalty, at the discretion of the Referee, shall be imposed on any player who uses his elbow to foul an opponent. A major penalty must be imposed under this rule for a foul resulting in an injury to the face or head of an opponent (see 45.5)."
Rule 45.5 goes along with 45.3, and resulted in the game misconduct. That rule states:
"When a major penalty is imposed under this rule for a foul resulting in an injury to the face or head of an opponent, a game misconduct penalty shall also be imposed."
Following the game, as permitted under league rules, the Nashville media made a request to speak with Watson about the call, but through a Predators team spokesperson, the officials refused to be made available to the designated pool reporter, as is their prerogative.
In his postgame press conference, Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz said that he disagreed with the call, but the victorious coach was very diplomatic in his response to questions about the play.
“I have the luxury obviously of seeing the replay,” Trotz said. “When I watched the replay, it looked like Hornqvist had his elbow out, and then as he goes into Seguin he brings his elbow in and actually puts sort of the brakes on and sort of turns. I looked at it, and I really didn’t think it was a penalty.”
The Predators will likely ask the league to review the play and rescind the game misconduct.
Without Hornqvist’s services, the Predators managed to rally from a one-goal third period deficit to win the game 4-3 in overtime on a power-play goal from captain Shea Weber.