News came Saturday that Brendan Lemieux will have a hearing for his illegal check to the head of Vincent Trocheck. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as the hit was clearly to the head and most people thought it was predatory given the previous events in the series.
Winnipeg’s Brendan Lemieux will have a hearing for an illegal check to the head on Florida’s Vincent Trocheck. Day and time TBD.
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) November 3, 2018
It looked predatory to me. Two thoughts:
1) Trocheck hit Ehlers *hard* the shift prior. My first instinct, accurate or not, was that Lemieux was taking revenge.
2) Lemieux was on tilt as early as G1, IMO. After taking an (uncalled) whack, he chased Petrovic all over FLA's zone. https://t.co/J2E2o2vi4E
— Murat Ates (@WPGMurat) November 3, 2018
In case you haven’t seen it yet, here is the hit that everyone around the league is talking about.
Lemieux hit on Trochek pic.twitter.com/koJBQWne0b
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) November 2, 2018
A few things are clear when looking at this hit. First of all, this hit comes at open ice. These types of hits are very hard to do as a player because it tougher to line someone up when they can move in any direction compared to when the boards prevent them from escaping. Look no further than Mark Borowiecki who got suspended for the second time in a week for a high hit on Cody Eakin. Open ice hits are hard to time and can lead to picking the head much easier than if the player was against the boards.
Secondly, Lemieux comes flying in and cleanly picks the head during the hit. There is very little body contact as the head is the first contact, and essentially the only contact.
Lastly, like Murat suggested, this hit could easily be seen as predatory. Trocheck had just hit Ehlers, plus Lemieux was already fired up about a non-call in the first game against Florida. Both of these appear to lead to a more aggressive hit than needed.
The only thing in Lemieux’s defense is the way Trocheck moves. He stops moving just as he passes the puck which means Lemieux got only the head compared to the body. Had Trocheck kept moving at his normal pace, Lemieux likely would have got body contact first and had a cleaner hit.
So… now what?
Lemieux will almost certainly be suspended. Given that he already served a match penalty and he’s a first time offender, the suspension will likely be on the shorter end. Some “experts” like Jamie Mclennan and Mike Johnson of That’s Hockey are calling for five games but as a first time offender it will likely be less than that.
Overall, the hit leads to some questions being asked about his role on the team and whether or not he is actually helping the team as the Jets could have used a spot for their Finnish players like Niku or Vesalainen. This hit is also fuelling the debate whether Lemieux is actually ready for the NHL.
So jets couldn't bring Niku and vesalainen to Finland because… Checks notes:
Jets needed Lemieux to play 8:56 mins and take 2 stupid penalties and Poolman to not play at all. These were keys to winning?
— not affiliated ? (@Tony_MBHKY) November 2, 2018
It will be an interesting week for the Jets dealing with the aftermath of the hit. Lemieux is likely getting suspended so the Jets are going to have to tweak their lineup for a few games. This could also signal Lemieux getting sent back to the Moose as he’s becoming more of a liability than a help.