The question asked is not an easy one. In fact, it's quite convoluted. Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins will be in Wednesday night's Game 7 against the Montreal Canadiens after the NHL decided not to suspend him for his hit on Jaroslav Spacek.
It's the postseason, this should be expected. But was it the right call? Again, that's a loaded question. How we define "right" is almost certainly influenced by where you live and where your loyalties lie, but let's look at all the criteria.
First, another look at the hit.
It's always tough (re: impossible) to judge a players intent in a situation like this. You'd like to believe that, unless it's a player who's known as a reckless mad man, there's never any intent to injure in situations like this. I'd like to believe that Lucic didn't mean to crush Spacek from behind.
It's tough to tell from the video, but there's a split second where it looks like Spacek is going to turn up ice, and that would've made the hit from the side, not behind. But after that split second, it looks as though Spacek didn't like what he saw, and decided to keep his back turned and just toss the puck up the boards.
For that reason -- and remember, this all happens at lightning speed -- I don't think Lucic intended to hit him from behind. It's not easy making that argument to a Habs fan, but nonetheless.
One game suspensions for nasty elbows to the head. No suspension for an almost identical hit by Mike Richards on Tim Connolly on Sunday afternoon. The precedent is set in these playoffs, and according to it, this shouldn't be a suspension.
Spacek finished out the game. If injury and result really does have an impact on these things (in the case of Richards-Connolly, it didn't), no call should be made. Both players will play in Game 7.
4. On-ice penalty
Let's not underestimate the importance of losing a guy like Lucic for five minutes and the game. He's a freakin' horse for the Bruins, and if he's in the lineup, it's very possible they're able to get an extra puck or two by Carey Price. Sometimes, the penalty handed out on the ice is enough.