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Matt Bartowski Headshot Totally Destroys Brian Gionta (Video)
The Matt Bartwoski headshot you are about to see may not yield a lengthy suspension. But at the very least it’s going to put the 26-year-old Bruins defenseman on the NHL’s watch list.
The play in question occurred during Sunday night’s Bruins-Sabres game in Boston. With 5:54 remaining in the first period, Sabres captain Brian Gionta reach out to take a pass near his own blue line and got absolutely clobbered by Bartowski. It’s unclear from the replays whether the principle point of contact was Gionta’s head. But Bartowski’s shoulder came pretty damn close, and the impact of the hit spun Gionta upside-down so that he hit the ice face first.
Here’s a video of the play itself followed by multiple replays and analysis from the Bruins announcers, as well as commentary by the Bruins studio analysts (4:25) during the first intermission:
The Bruins announcers were right about one thing—it does not appear as though Bartowski was targeting Gionta’s head. However, they seemed to miss something else entirely. Take a look at Gionta and Bartowkski about a half second before the hit:
Gionta is outstretched and extremely vulnerable. This is the moment Bartowski should have decided not to level his opponent.
Does that make him a dirty player? Not at all. But going for the hit was a bad decision. And the NHL department of player safety is going to have to decide if it was bad enough to warrant any further penalty than the game misconduct he received.