Sharks’ Brad Stuart Drills Avs’ Gabriel Landeskong With Devastating Hit (Video)
Well, we’re a week into the shortened 2013 NHL season, and we finally have the first truly great hit to show you.
It comes from the game between the San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night. The perpetrator of the devastating check was San Jose’s Brad Stuart, and on the receiving end was the Avs’ 20-year-old Gabriel Landeskong, who became the youngest team captain in NHL history back in September.
Late in the first period, Landeskong was skating through the neutral zone with the puck along the left boards when Stuart suddenly plowed into him at full speed. After that, Colorado’s Ryan O’Byrne made a beeline for Stuart and engaged him in a fight right in front of the Sharks’ goal.
Here’s the video. As you will hear, the Sharks’ announcers are outraged that O’Byrne would take exception to such an obviously legal hit.
So was the hit legal? Well, it’s clear that Stuart’s shoulder either hits or comes very close to hitting Landeskong’s head. So I wouldn’t have immediately declared that the hit was obviously legal; rather, I would have needed a second, third, or even fourth look. But after taking those looks, I think the hit was clean. Stuart did not leave his feet (or at least, not until impact); he did not get his elbow up; and he didn’t seem to target the head, which is key. Instead, it seems that Landeskong’s head was just down.
But don’t just take my word for it. The NHL agrees, as they have decided to take no actions against Brad Stuart.
And Landeskong agrees, too. Here are his thoughts after the game:
“I thought it was a hard hit,” said Landeskog. “I think it was a clean hit or felt like a clean hit, no elbow but it was hard, I’ll tell you that much. I was kind of reaching for the puck and didn’t brace myself enough and stepped up. That’s the way with hockey, you give some and you take some and tonight I took a pretty big one.
“I knew he was there. I didn’t think he was going to come at the speed that he came and then I saw him the last second but not early enough. I felt fine. I was a little weak at first. But I got some ice in here and took care of what had to be taken care of and then I felt fine after that.”
Now that we’ve heard Landeskong’s thoughts, what do you think? Was it a clean hit? And was Ryan O’Byrne right to go after Brad Stuart?
Hat Tip – [SB Nation]