Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman will not face a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety after his hit to Bryan Little.
The Tampa Bay Lightning has certainly had its fair share of struggles over the course of the last week or so. The injuries have been mounting with players like defenseman Jason Garrison and Vladislav Namestnikov on the sidelines with various injuries and numerous players (and coaches) coming down with a nasty case of the flu. Amid all the bad news the Lightning has received, the Bolts received some good news today.
Despite the wishes of some of the Winnipeg Jets roster, according to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman will not face a hearing with the National Hockey League Department of Player Safety stemming from the Swedish defenseman’s hit on Winnipeg Jets center on Bryan Little on Thursday night at the Amalie Arena.
For those of you who didn’t see this happen in real time, allow us to paint a picture for you. Bryan Little was playing the puck through the neutral zone with the hopes of ending up in a viable position to take a shot on Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. As he is approaching the blue line to enter his offensive zone, he is skating full speed with his head looking towards the ice.
Before he even had an opportunity to know what was going on around him, Little ran head and neck first into the forearm of Anton Stralman. After contact was made, Little went tumbling to the ground in what seemed like a great deal of pain. While Little laid helpless on the ground, his teammate Blake Wheeler went directly after Stralman. These two engaged in battle until Stralman was able to take Wheeler down and the referees split the two warring opponents up.
After the play had been reviewed by the referees, it was deemed there was no penalty on the play and the hit, while unfortunate for Bryan Little and the Winnipeg Jets, was a legit hit. This infuriated some of the members of the team, but none more so than Jets Head Coach Paul Maurice. When the referees made their way to the bench to explain the way everything would play out, Maurice has some choice words for them.
Needless to say, when these two teams hit the ice for the third period of play, Bryan Little was not on the bench with his teammates. No sooner than he made his way to the bench, Maurice found himself in a stare down with the referees, and after what can only be described as some colorful language towards the referees, he quickly found himself headed to the locker room for the remainder of the game.
There is never a situation in which we want to see someone get injured. After watching the clip over and over again, there is nothing we can see that shows any sort of malcontent or malice on behalf of Anton Stralman. Despite the claims of Little’s teammates, the hit looked like an unfortunate, but legal hit.
As far as we can tell, there has been no update as to the condition of Bryan Little, but we certainly wish him well and hope that his injuries, if any, are not severe and he doesn’t miss much if any, time away from the ice.
As far as Stralman is concerned, this comes as a sigh of relief for a team that has been fighting tooth and nail for everything they have. There is a long and arduous road ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning if they have any hopes of making a repeat visit to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Missing a defenseman like Anton Stralman when the Lightning is already missing a defenseman like Jason Garrison would be a huge detriment to the team.
What are your thoughts on Anton Stralman’s hit on Winnipeg Jets forward Bryan Little on Thursday night? Do you think it is something the league should have taken a look at, or do you believe it was a legal, yet unfortunate hit? Let us know what you think in the comments below.