September 16, 2013 4:45 pm

Nolan avoids discipline; Bissonnette misconduct questioned

According to Bob McKenzie of TSN and Nick Kypreos of Rogers Sportsnet, there won’t be supplemental discipline assessed to Jordan Nolan for his first period hit on Rusty Klesla that left the Phoenix defenseman with whiplash and a concussion, according to reports from Phoenix on Monday.

One difference between this hit and other hits reviewed by the Department of Player Safety is how under-scrutinized it was. There were eyewitness accounts by those in attendance – who did not have the benefit of a video replay – and a select few upstairs. Only several members of the media were able to see a replay, which may never see the light of day as the game was not televised.

UPDATE: The video has been posted by the NHL. See this LAKI post to view it.

The hit was a violent collision – a jarring, open-ice hit by Nolan as Klesla skated through the neutral zone that made an ugly thud that reverberated through the mostly empty arena when equipment made contact with equipment – and required a stretcher to safely transport the 12-year-veteran off the ice.

But the hit was also one of the collisions that makes one realize how many factors have to be considered by the Department of Player Safety, and difficulty in trying to make lucid, firm decisions when evaluating such nebulous events. Los Angeles assistant general manager Rob Blake, formerly the NHL’s hockey operations manager, spoke with LAKI over the summer about the depth and research undertaken by Brendan Shanahan’s department in forming such judgments.

Nolan, who had received a fine for a cross-check to the back of Henrik Sedin in a 1-0 loss to Vancouver at Staples Center last March, had never been suspended.

After declaring that it was “a good hit” after Sunday’s game, Darryl Sutter reiterated his position on Monday.

“It was a good, clean, hit. I mean, watch it,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said from the team’s El Segundo practice facility on Monday. “You can stop it, you can watch from every angle. The player had his head down, and he got hit in the chest. The other team never even reacted to it, quite honest, because they saw it, too. There wasn’t much reaction to it at all. Both teams knew.”

The issue of Paul Bissonnette leaving the bench to join a scrum – an infraction that drew a game misconduct and could result in a 10-game suspension – was also open to interpretation, according to the Kings’ coach.

“To me, that’s marginal, too,” Sutter said. “He’s changing. If that was a regular season game, nothing’s going on. Quite honest, the referees called minors after the play…And there were no minors, either. They didn’t have to call it. Basically, it’s just like both teams had a lot of inexperienced players. There was one inexperienced referee, too, last night. Thank goodness we got those two veteran linesmen and a referee with enough experience that they knew there were no issues.”

UPDATE: Paul Bissonnette has been suspended for 10 games. See this LAKI post for the NHL’s assessment.

The on-ice officials for last night’s game were referees Darcy Burchell and Steve Kozari, and linesmen Jay Sharrers and Vaughan Rody. Burchell, hired by the NHL out of the OHL for the 2011-12 season, was the least senior member of the crew.

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