There are a lot of words in the NHL rulebook under Rule 45, the penalty for elbowing.
The screwed-up ruling will become a footnote in this Bruins’ season, unless Carlo, who did not return to the game, winds up missing an extended period of time. Torey Krug made sure the Bruins got their two points with an overtime goal to end a 2-1 victory.
And Carlo was injured. Not only did he stay down before he was checked by the trainer, he looked dazed skating off and did not return. After the game coach Bruce Cassidy called Carlo’s ailment an upper-body injury and classified the player as day-to-day.
“I don’t know about intent but that doesn’t matter,” Cassidy told Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley on NESN, comparing the play to high-sticking penalties that are always called without consideration for intent.
What’s unfathomable, though, is that the officials on the ice had the call right. They saw the elbow and the injury and called a major penalty (which would’ve led to Dadonov also being ejected, an occurrence that also would’ve helped the Bruins prevail without going to overtime).
Under a rule that was adopted last summer because of the way the Vegas Golden Knights got screwed over by an unmerited major penalty called in Game 7 of the first round of the playoffs against San Jose, the play was reviewed. Unless some Russian hackers went in and changed the replay into some sort of deep fake, the referees saw what we all saw several times on TV and what they obviously saw on the ice (or they wouldn't have called the penalty).
There was an elbow to the head of an opposing player. There was that player, all 6-foot-5, 212 pounds of him, dropping to the ice and staying there. There was that player leaving the game with an apparent head injury.
But then they reduced the major penalty to a minor. If ever there was a hockey call equivalent for a face-palm emoji.
The Bruins are too experienced, deep and talented to let something like that bother them. Jaroslav Halak shut down Aleksander Barkov’s breakaway in overtime, Krug didn’t miss on his slap shot from the high slot at 4:08 of the extra session and the Atlantic Division title moved ever closer to the Bruins’ grasp. And there was no way for the referees to look at the video and deny the Bruins scored.