Scott Laughton may have stepped over the line last night. Okay, no. He definitely stepped over the line.
The Philadelphia Flyers prospect, selected in the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft, threw a blindside hit to the head of an opponent last night in an OHL game. You can see the video above. It doesn't appear as though there was an serious injury to the recipient of the hit, Ottawa 67's winger Daniel Walsh, but that doesn't make the hit any less awful.
Even worse, it came late in a tied hockey game, and the five minute major penalty for a check to the head put Laughton's Oshawa Generals on the penalty kill for the final two and a half minutes of the third period and for half of the overtime period. He was also ejected from the game.
By all accounts, Laughton isn't a dirty player, but one of the reasons the Flyers drafted him is because he plays the game with a Mike Richards-esque edge. (And no, we don't say that because this hit feels a whole lot like the David Booth hit from a few years back.)
As noted by Yahoo!'s Buzzing The Net blog, which tipped us off to this hit, Laughton's aggressive forecheck on a play behind the net led to a third period turnover and ultimately the game-tying goal. It's quite possible that the Generals don't win the game without Laughton's aggressive play last night, but it's also pretty clear that he stepped a bit too far with his hit minutes later.
The OHL takes this stuff pretty seriously and we should probably expect Laughton to sit for a lengthy period of time. Just two days ago, the league suspended Sarnia's Craig Hottot ten games for a check to the head.