The NHL's Department of Player Safety flexed its muscles Wednesday afternoon, suspending Vancouver forward Jake Virtanen for two games for a dangerous hit on San Jose defenseman Roman Polak on Tuesday night at Rogers Arena.
Virtanen was issued a major for interference and a game misconduct as a result of the incident. That's a good call on the ice but a better one off it, taking into account both the recklessness of the hit and his status as a first-time offender.
Speaking on the league's explanation video, Patrick Burke of the Department of Player Safety said Virtanen deserved supplemental discipline for the “extreme lateness” and “predatory nature” of the hit.
"Approaching from the blind side, Virtanen veers sharply into Polak with force, delivering a violent hit well outside the acceptable time frame to deliver a check," Burke said.
Polak lay dazed on the ice after the collision but was uninjured and able to finish the game.
“Anything that’s late like that when a guy’s not looking is a dangerous hit,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. “I know [Virtanen is] a good young player, hopefully he learns a lesson and gets that out of his game.”
He needs to. Nothing wrong with a young player bringing some edge to his game, but this was as gutless a hit as you're likely to see. Kudos to the DoPS for holding him accountable.