The undercard to Zack Kassian’s disciplinary hearing for breaking Sam Gagner’s jaw with his stick, Dale Weise’s hearing for hitting Taylor Hall in the head was almost forgotten. After all, Hall stayed in the game and suffered no apparent injury. Weise received a two-minute minor and was overshadowed by Kassian’s reckless stick-swinging.
Unsurprisingly, Weise’s suspension will also be overshadowed by Kassian’s, as Weise will merely miss the remainder of the pre-season, while Kassian misses actual regular season games. Brendan Shanahan clearly saw Weise’s infraction as less severe, though this may, unfortunately, be a case of suspending to the injury.
While Weise’s hit was originally labelled an elbow on the broadcast and by Oilers’ fans, Weise clearly keeps his elbow tucked in. That doesn’t make the hit all that much cleaner, however, as Weise’s shoulder makes direct contact with Hall’s head, without impacting anywhere else on Hall’s body.
I initially thought that Hall had shifted his position just prior to the hit, but Shanahan’s video correctly shows that this wasn’t the case. Hall is crouched low, holding off Bo Horvat, which puts him in a vulnerable position, but Weise needs to identify that and either adjust his body lower to catch Hall in the shoulder or avoid the hit and focus on taking away the puck.
Hall placed some blame on himself, however, after the game. “I have to have my head up,” said Hall, saying that it was “probably a mistake on both parts.” Hall has a tendency for playing a bit recklessly without regard for his own safety and having his head down in this situation is an example of that tendency.
Three pre-season games seems fair. There doesn’t seem to be any intent on the part of Weise to injure Hall, though he’s certainly looking to lay him out with a big hit. His lack of disciplinary history helps his case here: Weise doesn’t have a history of cheap shots or headhunting, but does have a history of being clumsy and awkward.
Was the hit on Hall more a case of a sometimes-clumsy player having really poor timing on a hit or was it an intentional bit of headhunting? You could make an argument both ways, but any time that you hit a player directly in the head, you deserve what’s coming to you, whether that’s a suspension or a brief knuckle-chucking session with Mike Brown.
In any case, Weise now has to face the music as he’ll miss the rest of the pre-season. That may not seem like much of a punishment, but Weise is still a bit of a borderline NHLer and could have used another pre-season game or two to make his case for starting the season in the lineup.Tags: dale weise, suspension, suspensions, Taylor Hall