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.
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.Tags: featured, Hamhuis, Hips, hittiness, I can't believe this has to be said, injury, Lucic