Vladimir Tarasenko was rocked by a huge hit from Colorado's Mark Olver in the team's OT loss on Wednesday night. The hit, one that has been deemed clean by the NHL, struck Tarasenko in the head, reportedly knocking out the youngster before he even fell to the ice. Should there have been discipline on Olver's hit?
As I mentioned earlier, there won't be a suspension or a fine for Mark Olver.
Mark Olver's hit on Vladimir Tarasenko in last night's COL-STL game has been deemed legal hit and no further action is being contemplated.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 21, 2013
When looking at the hit without bias, you can make a case for discipline, but you can also make a case that Tarasenko was unfortunate to turn into the incoming hit. Olver's elbow was up, which could be deemed dangerous. Regardless, a hit to the head is a hit to the head, no matter how you choose to view it. These are the hits the NHL supposedly wants to remove from the game.
As for Tarasenko, he didn't return to the game after the hit. He was examined in the dressing room and was taken to a local hospital in Denver. He joined his team for the plane ride back to St. Louis where he will be evaluated further. For now, consider him "day-to-day", but we won't know of the extent of his injury until later.
It is worth noting he did suffer a concussion while playing in the KHL earlier this year, so this is obviously a point of concern for team management and an issue they'll deal with in a slow and delicate manner.
Let's slow things down, in GIF form.
As you can see in the video replays, the lights are on but no one is home as Tarasenko laid on the ice. Several media members have reported that Tarasenko was knocked out prior to hitting the ice.
The NHL has stated - repeatedly - that they are trying to crack down on hits to the head/face. They've gone so far as to give David Backes a major penalty and game misconduct for a hit they believed hit Kent Huskins in the head. The problem there was Backes hit Huskins in the chest. Here, an obvious hit to the head, no call and no discipline.
Is there intent here? Probably not, but if you're going to be serious about removing serious injuries to the head from the game, you have to penalize hits like these.