Muzzin earns match penalty for butt-check to head of Gordon (Video)

Well this will be a new one for the Department of Player Safety.

In the contentious tilt between the Los Angeles Kings and Arizona Coyotes, LA defenseman Jake Muzzin made contact with the head of Arizona’s Boyd Gordon … using his butt.

Take a look:


 And another angle:


Muzzin earned a match penalty for the hit; sending him to the showers with 6:40 left in the game. As is the rule with match penalities, the player is automatically suspended until the Commissioner, more likely DoPS, weighs in. They can issue a suspension or rescind the match to negate the suspension.

If you’re wondering which way Player Safety might be leaning on this one, look no further than the Tweet sent out by NHL DoPS & Hockey Operations VP, Damian Echevarrieta, shortly after the event:


He is referencing Rule 48.1 section iii:

What feels really gray is the definition of the term “materially.” What exactly is materially? Is it timing? Is it how Gordon moves his head, as far as rotation? How much does his body play into this? A lot of questions that hopefully Player Safety will answer in their explanation of whether or not to uphold the match and suspension of Muzzin.

With Muzzin’s major penalty and an added disadvantage due to Alec Martinez’s delay of game minor, the Kings 3-1 lead quickly evaporated as the ‘Yotes scored two goals to tie the game. The joy was short lived as Anze Kopitar scored 36-seconds into OT.

Gordon left the game following the hit and did not return. Per Craig Morgan of AZ Sports, Gordon did not travel with the team following the game.

Friend of the blog, LA Kings Insider, Jon Rosen, spoke with Muzzin after the game:

Yeah, I obviously didn’t mean to hit him in the head or anything like that. I was just going to keep the puck in and he kind of went down low and my [backside] caught him in the face.”

Rosen also solicited the opinion of the always quotable, occasionally understandable Darryl Sutter on the incident and penalty that followed. EARMUFFS! 

“Muzz’s ass on Boyd’s face. It was a hockey play. It’s not even a penalty. They had their arms up the whole night. It was all penalties. All special teams.”