Tampa Bay Lightning wing Ryan Malone will not be suspended for Saturday's third-period head shot on Montreal's Chris Campoli. League disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan called the ruling "challenging" but determined Campoli contributed to the hit, in which Malone flattened him with his shoulder, by dipping his head after losing the puck.
Here is what Shanahan told nhl.com:
"We felt that this hit was the most challenging one so far in this preseason for the Department of Player Safety to evaluate," said Shanahan. "In the end, we felt that Malone had committed to the hit when Campoli was upright. However, when the contact was made, Campoli's head position significantly changed just prior to the hit.
"There are elements about the hit that we don't like," Shanahan added, "specifically, the principal point of contact being the head and that it was not a full-body check. But the overriding factor in our judgment was that Campoli's loss of the puck and subsequent bending forward for it just prior contributed significantly, if not entirely, to those elements."
Malone echoed the sentiment.
"I already had my mind made up that I was on route to make the hit and he leaned forward a little bit," Malone said Monday. "I still caught part of his shoulder. ... But that's a hit you have to make and a guy has his head down. It's not like I intentionally tried to injure him or anything. It's a hockey hit. That's what happened."
Campoli, who apparently did not have any concussion symptoms and practiced on Monday told Montreal reporters he was surprised with the ruling.
"I've seen it (the hit) from different angles and it's not fun for me to watch it because it's me. It's dangerous," Campoli said. "I don't necessarily agree with the opinion of the league if this is what they've come up with."
"I thought it was a clean hit," Malone said, and added, "I watched the replay and would be upset if there was (a suspension) ... It's hockey. We're allowed to hit each other and that's the fun part about it. I'm coming at him from the front. It's just unfortunate his head was down."