When the NHL introduced replay review for penalties, the goal was to ensure that the refs were able to take a second look to ensure that they get the call correct.
I’m not so sure it worked that way tonight.
In the second period of tonight’s Game 4, Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov quite literally jumped off the ice in order to hit Kevan Miller up high.
Miller was shaken up after the hit, likely both due to the hit itself and due him hitting the ice.
The play in question:
Dmitry Orlov with a dangerous hit on Kevan Miller. pic.twitter.com/UFxCQi2KrW— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) May 21, 2021
Orlov was initially assessed a major penalty. After watching the replay above numerous times, the refs decided to downgrade the penalty, giving Orlov a double minor for roughing.
Charlie Coyle was also assessed a roughing minor in the ensuing scrum, so the Bruins ended up with a two-minute power play.
Frankly, I was surprised that the refs initially went with the major; not because I didn’t think it was a major, but because they usually err on the side of “not harsh enough.”
What’s baffling is that after watching the replay a whole bunch of times, they decide “nah, that wasn’t as bad as we thought at first.”
If anything, the replay makes it worse than the live view. The hit was borderline in terms of being late, and Orlov leapt off the ice with both feet in order to connect with Miller.
My guess is that the refs determined that the hit was more to Miller’s upper chest (uh...sure), but it looks like the hit was a punch/shove to the neck, at best.
I’m also not entirely sure how you watch a guy leave his feet as blatantly as a human can leave his feet in order to make a hit and determine “eh, let’s downgrade the penalty.”
Weird, wild stuff.
The Bruins would score on the downgraded penalty to take a 1-0 lead.
However, the hit did a number on Miller:
UPDATE: Kevan Miller will not return. He was transported to the hospital for scans and further evaluation.— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) May 22, 2021
I suppose that's my main issue with the downgrade: maybe the contact wasn't directly to the head, but it was still high, borderline late, and with feet off the ice; plus, it resulted in a game-ending injury for Miller.
Your thoughts? Too harsh on the initial call, or too lenient on the review?