In last night's tilt against the Washington Capitals, Lightning forward Richard Panik was called for boarding against Washington Capital Karl Alzner. It was an expensive penalty that's going to get more expensive. Not only did the Caps score twice on the ensuing major penalty, Panik had a phone hearing with the NHL Dept. of Player Safety this afternoon. He has been suspended two games for the hit.:
The hit was a bad hit. The fact that Alzner was defenseless at the time doesn't exonerate Panik. He bears the responsibility in that situation to avoid a dangerous hit, and he chose not to do so.
Here's Panik's thoughts on the hit, from TBO.com:
"I was backchecking and I tried to finish the (check), but I was a little behind and it’s a bad penalty,’’ Panik said. "I feel really bad. I put the team in a bad spot, a bad situation. I feel really bad about it. ... it can’t happen in a game, and hopefully it’s not going to happen again. I should have just taken a couple of more strides, hit him clean and then everything would be OK.’’
And if you're planning to comment that some other team would have gotten away with that hit, save it, please. Panik made the hit. He bears the responsibility for it, and he'll sit because of it. If someone had hit Victor Hedman (or any other Lightning player) in that manner, we would want them suspended. If the player in question can recognize what he did wrong, fans should, too.