The incident occurred 14 minutes, 52 seconds into the third period of Game 5 on Wednesday with Montreal on the power play. As Niskanen played the puck, Gallagher cross-checked it to create a roll. Niskanen then handed Gallagher a countercheck, hitting him in the face and breaking his jaw. Gallagher went to the Montreal bench with a mouthful of blood.
The Flyers’ argument at Thursday’s NHL player safety hearing was that Niskanen did not intend to hit Gallagher in the head, but rather in the upper body, and that this game is common. when defenders keep players away from the puck in a game, the penalty is usually managed. by officials on the ice rather than player safety.
There was also the question of the position of Gallagher’s body. Player safety takes into account the accidental position of the player’s body upon receipt of illegal play. Niskanen came down with his stick in an attempt to grab Gallagher’s shoulder, rather than aim for the head. Gallagher was crouching and trying to play a rebounding puck when the blow was landed.
Flyers coach Alain Vigneault defended Niskanen, who had received only one fine before in his NHL career.
“In my opinion, Gallagher got up and looked fine. He was talking to the referees. The whole time he was on the bench, he spoke to our players for the rest of the game, ”said Vigneault on Thursday. “Gallagher is a very competitive player, but I don’t think it’s Nisky’s fault. [Gallagher] maybe not as tall as the other guys, but he is as fat if not taller than anyone else. ”
The Canadians lobbied the NHL during its deliberations by posting information about Gallagher’s injuries and posting their own take on the incident on social media.
NHL player safety uses injuries on a game to determine the length of the suspension, rather than whether there should be a suspension.