Dan Hamhuis is listed as questionable for game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final after tweaking something in his middle to lower body (eff you, postseason injury nondisclosure policy) while executing the picture-perfect hipcheck on Milan Lucic you see here. It’s an awesome hit, but the collateral damage may be too great for Canuck fans to stomach. It’s hard to respect the the technical expertise and highlight-reel quality of a play that injures a defenseman on your team’s top defensive pairing.

Most are wishing it never happened. Some are even blaming Hamhuis for attempting it.

In the last 24 hours, I’ve heard two baseless criticisms of this play. The common one is that Hamhuis should have known better than to attempt a hipcheck on someone as weighty as Milan Lucic. After all, at  6’3″ and 228 lbs, Lucic is a freight train, and throwing oneself in front of a train is foolish, no?

This is silly, and shows a complete ignorance of both the physics of hipchecking and Hamhuis’s game. First of all, size is inconsequential. When executed properly, it’s the hittee’s’ own redirected momentum that sends him ass over teakettle. Second, Dan Hamhuis’s checking history is a perfect example of this.

He’s taken out bigger guys. For example, Douglas Murray is 6’3″, 240. Dustin Byfuglien is 6’4″, and, as Kevin Bieksa once said, carries about 260 pounds of loose meat.

So there.

The worst criticism I’ve heard of the Hamhuis hipcheck came from a caller on the Team 1040 this morning, who claimed Hamhuis brought this on himself by attempting something outside his regular skillset. In effect, the caller argued that Hamhuis isn’t known for his hipchecking — that he was trying too much to be like Keith Ballard.

I suspect that this caller isn’t the only one who feels this way. Keith “Hips” Ballard has received just praise for his hipchecks this season (or praise for just his hipchecks, if you will), but many tend to forget that Dan Hamhuis is similarly prone to utilizing the low bridge. If the Byfuglien and Murray clips didn’t already convince you that Hamhuis is a fairly capable and frequent hipchecker, let Jakub Voracek’s journey skyward be the clincher:

Heck. If you compare the Voracek hipcheck with the one on Lucic, you’ll notice that, apart from occurring on opposite sides of the blue line, the two are downright identical, right down to the way Hamhuis throw his left arm forward to ensure his victim fully rotates and lands safely on his back. Hamhuis has the physics down pat. Compare this to Aaron Rome, who’s still fine-tuning his form.

Dan Hamhuis’s injury was a freak accident that occurred on what is, for him, a routine check. You can’t blame him for getting hurt while playing his game.

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10 comments

  1. scarlet ibis
    June 3, 2011

    Hamhuis delivers wonderful hip checks, and I’m sad that such a reportedly fine young man hurt himself, and

    With Minted Breath I’m Now Awaiting/ To Be Among the Chosen Few/ Who Get Their Comments Hidden Due/ To A Dismal Comment Rating:

    I guess you think because you won,
    Mayhap the Boston Bruins are done.
    Well I am here to let you know,
    And you’ll recall who told you so,

    Tomorrow night there is game two,
    When you’ll see what the Bruins can do:
    As Lucic Kelly Bergeron
    And all the rest bear down upon

    Your hapless “D” and Bobby Lou
    And cause your fickle fans to boo;
    As Timmy T between the pipes
    Wins this one for the Stars and Stripes,

    And you can drown your sorrows in beer,
    But not forget you heard it here.

    Scarlet Ibis

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    • olde coot
      June 3, 2011

      It’s quickly quickly out of sight
      These words might make someone uptight
      And here free speech is not a right

      Because fans think their wins decreed
      You think it best that they not read
      Their well-loved team might not succeed

      Back in the day I’ll quickly note
      We made them eat the words they wrote

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  2. peanutflower
    June 3, 2011

    hitte’s’ ? is that some African tribe?

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    • Harrison Mooney
      June 3, 2011

      *rage*

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  3. Vokail
    June 3, 2011

    I think “Hammer” got hurt because Lucic was slowing down as the play was dead and he didn’t have the right amount of speed to get him up and over without “Hammer” tossing him with a weight lifter explosive lift. Unfortunately his form wasn’t right and he tweaked a leg or even his back. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him back in a couple of games once he’s all rehabbed and numbed by pain killers

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    • JS Topher
      June 3, 2011

      Whistle doesn’t blow until the hit is engaged…

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  4. Kezzi
    June 3, 2011

    It was just a freak accident. I still think (from that perfect vantage point of watching on a tiny tv 50 kilometers away) that it was his left knee that buckled under the strain of flipping “Little Luci” :P
    Hopefully he didn’t tear anything. And I agree with @Vokail that it could have been because Lucic was slowing down as the whistle had just went. There wasn’t enough forward speed so, even though it didn’t look like it to us, he tended to leave more weight on top of Hamuis before moving on to his graceful descent to the cold hard ice, where he belongs. But I disagree that Hammer’s form wasn’t good. I thought he did it perfectly…it was just one of those things.

    Actually, if I may go on, I also think this was a plot by Keith Ballard to have Hamuis try to match him hip check for hip check, knowing all along that one day he would suffer for it and then Ballard could have his job. He’s a crafty one, that Ballard. Sitting there, patiently waiting for that day. Good luck with Chara, Keith! (oh I would so love to see Chara get flipped like that…except his shoulders would probably be on the ground while his feet were still on the ice on the other side of the poor guy who tries flipping him.)

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    • JS Topher
      June 3, 2011

      Worst Ballard prank ever.

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  5. SaltairTed
    June 3, 2011

    I too, would like to see someone (this means you Ballard) hip check Chara. Is it possible to not hip check Chara without it being “clipping”? We know it’s possible to high stick him (this means you, Sedin). I heard the same caller this morning saying it was foolish for Community Man to attempt the hip on Lucic and agreed with Ferraro’s response. What else was he supposed to do? Step in front of the L train and put the shoulder into him? And yes, Kezzi, that Ballard is a crafty one. Hiding in the weeds and leaping out just in time to raise the Cup. GCG.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      June 3, 2011

      Watching someone try to get their hip into Chara’s waist would be hilarious. It might be the first hipcheck in history where the hitter leaves his feet.

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