Saturday nights game between the Barrie Colts and the Kitchener Rangers was without a doubt the best effort the Colts have put forward this OHL season. Not only did they hand the Rangers their first regulation loss of the season but they dominated the game for the most part.
However, it would be what happened after regulation where things got pretty heated. Barrie Colts forward Kirill Nizhnikov was caught in a post game scrum with Jake Henderson which resulted in Henderson delivering a headbutt to Nizhnikov.
Quick answer for the question "Wonder what the @OHLHockey thinks about post game headbutts?" - 1 game.Wonder what the @OHLHockey thinks about post game headbutts? Also why headbutt a dude wearing a helmet/visor? pic.twitter.com/obIYS0kE1x— Ryan Noble (@ryannoble66) October 9, 2016
The OHL doesn't mess around with intentional contact to the head, and yes, Nizhnikov was wearing a helmet and Henderson was not. Does that make the severity of the action any less? Should we look at these incidents and allow the result/injury decide the duration or should it be the intent?#OHLRangers forward Jake Henderson suspended for one game for headbutt at the end of Saturday's game in Barrie. Match penalty assessed. #OHL— Mike Farwell (@farwell_ohl) October 10, 2016
Another thing to look at is the "repeat offender" rule. It should be noted that being suspended before isn't the qualification to qualify as a repeat offender. Previous history must be similar to the incident in question. That being said, Henderson has been suspended for a play that saw him target a head in the past. Last year he was suspended for 2 games for "unnecessary contact to the head" of former Barrie Colt, Brandon Lemieux.
The season before that, he was suspended for 10 games for "checking to the head" on Vanya Lodnia in a game against the Erie Otters.
So, to get it straight, November 2015 he was suspended for 10 games, April 2016 he got 2 games for a head incident and October 2016 he gets 1 game for a headbutt.
Many expected a long suspension following the incident because of the previous history, being a headbutt and being after the game. We saw people predicting as high as 10 games so 1 must be a shock to many.
Is this a step in the wrong direction? Does how you make illegal contact to another players head deserve consideration when the mail area of target is still the head? And lastly, do you feel 1 suspension is enough for a player who is arguably a repeat offender and made this kind of contact following a game? Let us know in the comments!