Rick Nash avoids suspension for hit on Kopecky

Paul Bereswill

The NHL's wheel of justice spun again and landed on a free pass for the Ranger forward.

The common thinking leading out of the New York Rangers' 3-1 loss to the Florida Panthers on Thursday night was that Ranger forward Rick Nash might receive some sort of suspension due to his hit on the Panthers' Tomas Kopecky. But that will not happen.

The National Hockey League's Departmet of Player Safety ruled that Nash did not target Kopecky's head and, while the hit was not legal, felt that it did not warrant suspending the superstar forward. Kopecky was also not injured on the play and remained in the game.

In an interview with Puck Daddy on Friday, Department of Player Safety head Brendan Shanahan explained his reasoning, explaining that the hit should have gotten Nash a penalty on the ice, but was not suspendable. "We don't like this hit. It absolutely should have been a two [minute minor penalty], and probably should have been a five [minute major penalty]," Shanahan said, but not a play that should have kept Nash out of action while the Rangers are in a playoff chase.

Reaction to the decision was mixed to say the least, with recently suspended Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul sounding off.

While I don't defend the Nash non-suspension, I think someone might want to alert Lupul the Department of Player Safety's video on him, which shows that -- unlike Nash -- Lupul's blindside hit targets Viktor Hedman's head.

All in all, it was another controversial day in the life of Brendan Shanahan, and the Rangers will have Nash in the lineup for their next game on Sunday in Washington.

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