Chicago Sun-Times

Video of Niklas Hjalmarsson hit on Jason Pominville

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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- No play was bigger in Monday's game against the Buffalo Sabres than Niklas Hjalmarsson's hit on forward Jason Pominville.

It changed the complexion of the game -- and really helped swing things back in the Hawks' favor.

The Sabres were upset -- as teams should be -- and went after Hjalmarsson, who was ejected and assessed a five-minute boarding penalty. But the Hawks' killed off the long penalty, and the momentum was on their side.

Hjalmarsson doesn't have a history of violent, dirty hits. His check on Pominville appeared to be more from behind than his right side. Still, it could be debated that it came from the side and that Pominville, who had the puck at his feet, saw him coming.

Hjalmarsson lowered his shoulder and sent Pominville hard into the glass. He was on the ice for several minutes before being taken out on a stretcher.

The NHL has taken a tough stance on hits similar to Hjalmarsson's. It wouldn't be a surprise if he's handed a short suspension. Pominville suffered a concussion.

Here is what Hjalmarsson and the two coaches had to say about the hit:

Hjalmarsson: ''Everything happened so fast but I thought it was a hit shoulder-to-shoulder. My intention obviously wasn't to hurt him. Our doctor said he was up walking, so that's a big relief. It's never fun to see a guy laying on the ice like that. It's good to know that he's up walking. ... I didn't think I was going to be kicked out of the game.

"The decision is in the league's hands now. It's good to know he's all right. Hopefully he gets back as soon as possible."

Joel Quenneville: "You could argue if it was even a penalty. [Hjalmarsson] wasn't looking at the guy [and] was playing the puck. He was compromised. But the hit, there was no intent at all."

Lindy Ruff: "He's not that type of player, but he made a mistake.

"We seemed a little stung for a little while. [Pominville has] really been our iron man. To see somebody there laying there, you're just thinking and praying that he's going to be OK.

"He's doing OK. He got sewn up. He's sitting up. Obviously, he has a concussion.

"He made a big mistake. He caught a player in a tough spot. It'll be addressed."

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3 Comments

That Buffalo announcer is an idiot. Look at the video.. Pominville was reaching for the puck thats less then a foot away. You could tell Nick was trying to get him from the side. Nick is not a dirty player.. Its a rough game. Stud athletes flying around on skates with lumber??? Im sure there will be a fine/suspension, but lets be realistic here. No intent to injur and the other player was making a play on the puck. The blindside hit rule was not made for this.. its for the cheap a$$ hits thrown away from the play..

The hit may have been hard but it was so close to shoulder to shoulder that it shouldn't have been an ejection. If you look again at the very last reply it looks as if Pominville looks toward his right and sees Nick coming. Just play hockey already.

Kronwall disn't deserve a game misconduct (Havalat), Ovechkin didn't deserve suspension for hit on ice capades Brian, and neither did Nick for his hit. Lesson learned: if you're hit along the boards, stay down for an extra three minutes power play!

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Adam L. Jahns is a native Chicagoan hailing from the Far Northwest Side. Jahns has been with the Sun-Times for more than four years, covering the Hawks, Bears, Cubs, Sox and high schools.

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This page contains a single entry by Adam L. Jahns published on October 12, 2010 12:11 AM.

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