Fraser: Questions regarding Green's hit on Dorsett

Kerry Fraser
5/13/2013 2:21:06 PM
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Mr. Fraser,
Have a question concerning the New York Rangers vs. Washington Capitals in Game 6 Sunday. In the third period, an incident with Mike Green and Derek Dorsett happened where Green crosschecked him in the mouth. Clearly bleeding, why was four mins not assessed to Green? And then as Dorsett was skating to the bench with one glove on, he gets hacked by a Capitals player (don't know who) in the foot and trips him with the trailing ref right in front of him watching the entire play happen! Any clarification you can give on this?
Thanks. Love your thread.
Randy Wolcott
I'd like to hear your comments on the slewfoot non-call on Derek Dorsett in Game 6 of the Caps/Rangers series on Sunday. I do not debate the penalty to Mike Green, as that call was the right one. What I dispute is the lack of call on Dorsett in the seconds leading up to the Green penalty.  See Rule 52 and watch the replays of the incident!
Andrew Pang
Arlington, VA
You have to help me understand why Green's cross check to the face is not a major and why there is no subsequent league review/action. When you review the replay and look at Green you quite easily see it is a direct shot to the head with intent to cause harm.
We talk about getting this stuff out of the game! I think the call here and lack of league action speaks otherwise.
Rob Andrews
Randy, Andrew and Rob:

Thank you for the excellent questions each of you provide as a result of the attempted slew-foot by Derek Dorsett and the subsequent cross-check by Mike Green to the face of Dorsett. I will provide the answers to your question one frame at a time (video link).

First rule 52 slew-footing is the act of a player using his leg or foot to knock or kick an opponent's feet from under him, or pushes and opponent's upper body backward with an arm or elbow, and at the same time with a forward motion of his leg, knocks or kicks the opponent's feet from under him, causing him to fall violently to the ice.

Derek Dorsett chased Mike Green for a loose puck at the half-wall with back and right side body position to Green who had the lead lane. In an effort to make contact Dorsett extended his left leg behind Green's right leg while applying upper body pressure with his hands and stick in a push motion (vs backward motion) causing Green to accelerate into the boards in an awkward, straight-up manner. There was no reverse/backward pressure exerted by Dorsett and the fact that Green did not fall "violently to the ice" as a result of the significant leg to leg contact might have been prevented by the close proximity to the boards where contact was initiated. Dorsett was in fact the player that lost his balance and fell hard to the ice. These factors prevent the Referee from assessing a match penalty under the definition of rule 52 which is the only prescribed penalty the Ref can apply. 

Dorsett was not clear of any wrongdoing however given the manner in which he took Green into the boards from behind. As the play finished Dorsett could certainly be deemed guilty of a minor infraction for boarding.

The cross-check delivered directly to the face of Dorsett by Mike Green on the other hand was done in retaliation for this attempted slew-foot. A time delay resulted from the hit into the boards following which Green turned his body toward Dorsett who had gotten up off his back onto his knees.  As such Dorsett was in a vulnerable position with his face exposed directly in front of the enraged Washington defenceman. This reasonable time delay escalates the poor decision Mike Green made to deliver a cross-check to the face of Dorsett from a reflex, spontaneous reaction to a deliberate strike with intent on his opponent who was in a vulnerable and defenseless position.  While the severity of the blow to the mouth of Dorsett was not sufficient to fall into the match penalty category, it is beyond a minor infraction (time delay) and definitely worthy of a major penalty and automatic game misconduct under rule 59—cross-checking. This lack of "excessive force" would also be taken into account by the Player Safety Committee in determining that no further action should be taken against Mike Green.

Randy, there is no provision for a four minute penalty in the cross-checking rule like we see in the high-sticking rule when an injury results. Derek Dorsett was on his knees and aside from Green's action being a distinct cross-check motion, based on Dorsett's posture at the time high-sticking would seldom be considered by the Referee. 

Mike Ribeiro's convenient stick placement in the skates of Derek Dorsett was "cheap" but not something that needed to be addressed at that time in the game as Dorsett was proceeding to his bench with no stick in his hand and holding his mouth.

My take on the play at the time it happened remains unchanged. Mike Green would receive a major and automatic game misconduct for cross-checking while Derek Dorsett a minor penalty for boarding. The teams would play 4 on 4
for two minutes at which point the NY Rangers would receive a 3 minute power-play for the balance of the major penalty to Green.

Game 6 provided outstanding entertainment value with great hits, speed and terrific goaltending by both teams. Game 7 broadcast on TSN tonight should be a real dandy.

Kerry Fraser

Kerry Fraser

Kerry Fraser is an analyst for the NHL on TSN and That's Hockey 2Nite on TSN2. As one of the league's most recognizable senior referees, he's worked 1,904 NHL regular season games and 261 playoff games during his 37-year career.

Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at!

You can also follow Kerry Fraser on Twitter at @kfraserthecall!

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