Should Marc-Edouard Vlasic be suspended for hit on Danny Briere?

It's rare that the NHL puts a controversial hit in their highlights package. Ahem:

That's Marc-Edouard Vlasic hitting Danny Briere from behind in the most hitting-from-behind way possible: Pushing right into the numbers. Briere's head/neck/shoulder went right into the boards, and the play ultimately had to be stopped because Briere couldn't get up. (Of course, he failed to miss a shift despite admitting after the game that the hit made him feel woosy. Nice concussion protocol, guys.)

Vlasic said post-game that Briere turned into him. Ummmmm right let's talk about that.

This is the last second before Briere turns his back to Vlasic. In fact, Briere's already begun to turn here.

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If Vlasic is saying that he's already begun his hit here, well, that's interference at best, boarding at worst. Neither player is at the puck, and slamming a guy into the boards from five feet out isn't exactly legal.

Briere does indeed turn his body, but again, he's so far away from the boards that it doesn't really make sense why Vlasic would be pushing him. In my eyes watching the video -- and I'm biased and all, obviously -- there's a subtle yet visible pause there for a split-second between the time when Briere stops in front of Vlasic and the point at which the hit was delivered.

It would be one thing if Vlasic began the hitting motion while he and Briere were side-to-side, battling for the puck. It's pretty clear to me that Vlasic began the hitting motion after Briere turned his back, but what do I know? I have really, really thick orange glasses on this one. That these two players have a history doesn't help matters for me, either.

All in all, let's add it up: No penalty, no apparent injury, NHL.com published the video in their highlights package. Vlasic will probably be fined $2,500 and we'll all move on. Maybe.

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