'A clean hit' Julien says of Boychuk vs. Toews

'A clean hit' Julien says of Boychuk vs. Toews
June 24, 2013, 1:00 am
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BOSTON – NHL Department of Player Safety Director Brendan Shanahan was in attendance at the United Center for Game 5 between the Bruins and Blackhawks, and he saw the Johnny Boychuk hit on Jonathan Toews at the end of the second period with his own eyes.

Toews was crushed by Boychuk as he curled toward the middle of the slot for a shot on net, and the Bruins defenseman delivered a hit that started at the shoulder before knocking the Chicago captain off his skates. There may have been “finishing contact” with Toews’ head, or a whiplash effect from an unexpected hit, but the lack of penalty called on the ice or supplemental discipline couldn’t make it any clearer that it was a clean, playoff hockey hit from No. 55.  

Toews was wobbly-legged skating back to the bench and didn’t play a shift in the third period of Chicago’s 3-2 victory over the B’s to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Finals.

The Department of Player Safety reviewed the Boychuk hit on Saturday night as they do with every potentially borderline play, according to a league source, and ruled on Sunday morning that the play didn’t rise to the level of supplemental discipline.

It’s unknown whether Toews will be able to suit up and play for Game 6 after absorbing the big hit, but the Bruins are glad their hard-hitting defenseman will be back on the ice Monday night. Given Boychuk’s clean record of conduct and the clean nature of the hit itself, members of the Bruins organization certainly felt like justice was served.

“[My opinion is] the same as the league. I think they said it was clean, wasn't it? Then I agree with them,” said Claude Julien. “I'm not going to hide from that. If it wasn't a clean hit, I'd have been a guy that supported those kinds of [supplemental discipline] things that we need to get it out of the game. But it was a clean hit.”

Clearly the Stanley Cup Finals is turning nasty with hits being review by the league, and two potential superstar players in Toews and Patrice Bergeron sitting as potential health question marks for Game 6 Monday night at TD Garden.