Here’s the video of Stafford’s hit on Duncan Keith: (Update: shorter with a reverse angle)
Legal? Yeah, I think so. Stafford’s not exactly a dirty player, and there was a little elbow there but he wasn’t fully extended and certainly wasn’t trying to take him out. This was a forward getting back into a play and trying to backcheck, which is exactly what you want to see our of a guy like Stafford. If anything he would have tied up one of the other two Blackhawks, but Keith slid into the slot and right into Drew’s path. This wasn’t Stafford headhunting, but rather Drew seeing Keith move to the middle and realize he had the best chance to make a play on him. To be honest, I’d rather see any of our forwards hit a guy like that rather than let him go.
Here’s what Stafford had to say about the hit:
“I hope he’s OK. I’m not trying to hurt anybody,” Stafford said. “At the same time, you have to keep your head up if you’re going to make a play over the blue line like that.”
I imagine he said that with a “toldja so” attached somewhere, but he seems sincere enough. So why am I even talking about this if it’s a clean hit and there’s no bad blood between the teams? Well, Ben Eager mostly. Here’s what he had to say about it:
“I thought it was a completely dirty hit,” Eager said. “That team has been through it. They have seen their fair share of head shots, and that guy doesn’t have many hits all year. He’s a skilled guy, so I’m sure [the league] won’t do anything to him. I’m sure if I was the one who hit him I probably would be sitting out for a while.”
Well, I’m sure someone out there will say “that’s the same as the Drury hit!”, which is completely false. You see, Chris Drury wears his helmet too loose, which is the only reason that hit was so bad. Yeah, that’s about the only difference I see, really…