The NHL Department of Player Safety has had its hands full in the first round of the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs, and will have another incident to deal with following Game 4 of the Minnesota Wild and Winnipeg Jets series.
No penalty was called on Morrissey, who went on to help set up Mark Scheifele's game-winning goal while making numerous strong defensive plays in the 2-0 victory that put the Jets up 3-1 in the best-of-seven series. The Thunder Bay, Ont., native was slow to gain his footing and skated gingerly to the Minnesota bench. Not only would it have been a 5-on-3 powerplay, but Boudreau believes Morrissey should have been thrown out of the game. "I'm not up here trying gamesmanship to get the league to call extra stuff". It is what it is, though. "It was a vicious cross-check to the face", Boudreau said.
Staal, the Wild's most effective player until the hit on Tuesday, was still fuming after the game. "I'm in the middle of the game", Staal said.
"I'm the tallest guy on the ice".
Had Morrissey been penalized, the Wild would have had a 5-on-3 advantage.
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"The refs looked at it and they decided not to call it because we were already on the power play", Boudreau told reporters after a 2-0 loss.
Maurice then trotted out a laundry list of other plays during the series which haven't led to any further discipline from the league. "You're not chasing the game".
"Well, it's warranted", Minnesota coach Bruce Bourdreu said.
"There's a penalty there [but] no intent", he conceded in a scrum with reporters.
Morrissey insisted after the game he did not intend to cross-check Staal. Morrissey logged 22:19 of ice time on Tuesday night.
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Morrissey said the play was a "complete accident".
"I watched the video afterwards, and we're battling in front of the net on the penalty kill, and I'm actually looking at the puck on the wall, trying to box him out", he said.
"He's a big guy, and my stick ended up getting up a little bit on him", Morrissey said.
Winnipeg is already missing veteran defencemen Toby Enstrom and Dmitry Kulikov.
After a six-goal outburst in Game 3 that prompted Maurice to pull Hellebuyck after two periods, only his second early exit of the season, the Wild had trouble generating the same kind of organized and relentless attack.
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