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David Backes gets ejected for a “hit to the head” of Vincent Trocheck

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Another game, another controversial hit.

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Boston Bruins Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

David Backes just returned from a suspension. He might be facing another one.

Late in tonight’s first period, Backes hit Vincent Trocheck in the neutral zone. Trocheck was leaning forward, reaching for the puck.

The hit, from Chris/@CrzyCanucklehed:

(Link to the video, for those on mobile/Apple News.)

Backes received five minutes for fighting and a match penalty, per the broadcast, for a “hit from behind.”

A hit from behind?!?!!?

Chances are, the in-game officials screwed up and meant to call it a check to the head. It’s still a bad call, but at least it’s not a completely nonsensical bad call.

(EDIT: Yes, apparently that’s what happened. It was called a hit to the head.)

What’s your take on the hit? Seems to me to be similar to the Patric Hornqvist hit on Charlie McAvoy: Trocheck was reaching, and it sure looked like Backes initially made contact with the shoulder.


Bad call all around? Bad hit? Mixture of both?

Here’s a zoomed-in, slow-mo version:

UPDATE (8:44 PM): So now that this was ruled a match penalty for a hit to the head, here’s what the rulebook says:

48.5 Match Penalty – The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a match penalty if, in his judgment, the player attempted to or deliberately injured his opponent with an illegal check to the head. If deemed appropriate, supplementary discipline can be applied by the Commissioner at his discretion.

Emphasis mine, but it’s interesting. Basically, this means that the referee decided that not only did Backes hit Trocheck in the head (or as the principal point of contact, whatever), but that he did so intentionally and wanted to injure Trocheck.

That’s a pretty big leap to make.

The Bruins ended up making the extended penalty kill, and still trail 2-0 early in the second.