You know, when this happened live, I wasn't exactly sure if it was a hit to the head. It only took one replay for me to realize how blatant a Rule 48 violation this was though.
Steve Staios elbowed Max Talbot right in the face in the third period of tonight's Flyers vs. Islanders game at The Dump (not the furniture store), and on the bench afterwards, you can clearly notice a smirk on the face of the 38-year-old. It's not a toothy smile or anything, but there's definitely something there.We'll wait while you look for it on the video.
Check the 1:45 mark. He looks about 60 years old, not 38, so we understand if you missed it.
There was no penalty on the play, and Peter Laviolette told the media after the game that the referees said they weren't sure if the head was the principal point of contact. We'll let that slide; officials miss things in live action. What we can't let slide is a lack of suspension, and it will be utter BS if Brendan Shanahan doesn't do something about this hit.
We suspect he will -- after all, it's textbook Rule 48, and elbow right to the noggin. It shouldn't be this difficult to get this stuff out of the game, but, well, maybe NHL players need a lesson they can comprehend. All this "principal point of contact" stuff can be pretty confusing, after all.
Someday, they will learn.
In the meantime, Talbot did indeed finish the game, but the team almost certainly didn't comply with NHL concussion protocol following the hit. Talbot likely said he was fine so they let him finish out the game, and he actually had an assist on Sean Couturier's game-winning goal a few minutes later.
But when a player is hit in the head, regardless of what they say, the team is supposed to send them back to the quiet room. It's mandatory, mostly to protect players from themselves. Of course Talbot doesn't want to come out of a close game late in the third period. Of course he's going to say he's fine. Who knows if he really is, though?
Anthony SanFilippo of the Delco Times said that Talbot didn't look great during his session with reporters after the game. Luckily for us, he took video of that exchange and posted it on this nifty thing called the Internet, so we can all judge for ourselves. What do you think?
Let's hope Talbot is okay. He's been extremely valuable to the Flyers defensive game so far this season, and losing him would absolutely suck, especially if it's to a scary head injury.