Debate was sharp on both sides. What was certain: Mike Green's left arm made contact with Brett Connolly's head along the boards and sent the Tampa Bay Lightning forward crumbling to the ice.
Green didn't get a penalty on the play, but the Washington Capitals defenseman will have a disciplinary hearing with the NHL senior vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan on Friday, according to TSN.
Lightning coach Guy Boucher watched the replay after the game and feels something more should be coming for Green.
"The league has to look at that. It's right at the head. The head's targeted. For me, it's clear," Boucher said. "The ref didn't see it. But, you know, the refs are on the ice. They can't see everything. It happens so fast."
Referees Stephane Auger and Dan O'Halloran might not have seen the play clearly, but replays showed that as Dmitry Orlov was riding Connolly into the boards and out of the play, Green came skating in and delivered the blow to the rookie's head.
The play occurred at the 11:06 mark of the second, and Connolly returned to the game in the third. Afterward, he brushed off most conversation about it because he hadn't seen a replay.
"I'm not going to point any fingers," he said. "It's a hockey play. It happens."
Green was not made available for comment, as a team spokesman said he was receiving treatment. General manager George McPhee politely declined to talk about the hit as he was leaving the Caps' locker room.
Coach Dale Hunter said he didn't see a replay.
"I thought it was, especially early in the game, it was really physical out there," he said. "Both teams were hitting hard."
Green was suspended three games in January 2010 for an elbow to the head of then-Panthers forward Michael Frolik. Though that goes beyond the 18-month statute of limitations to determine how much of a fine he would potentially receive, Shanahan has used past incidents in figuring out punishment.
Boucher thought it should have been a five-minute major. But Capitals right wing Troy Brouwer knew the game had to go on.
"There's no call on the play," he said. "We play on and sometimes the other team's not going to be very happy with a hit or how it's distributed. But if there's no call on the play, then we've got to keep playing."
Shanahan ultimately will decide whether Green is able to keep playing when Washington travels to the Boston Bruins on Saturday.
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