Austin Watson was given a match penalty for hitting Winnipeg Jets forward Marco Dano in the second period of Tuesday's contest. Dano looked hurt on the play, but eventually got up and skated to the dressing room under his own power.
Another look at the Austin Watson hit: pic.twitter.com/jj4j3D33Lh— Mark Harris (@MCHisTweeting) March 9, 2016
There's no question Watson's shoulder makes contact directly with Dano's head. But there are a couple of factors that suggest the Department of Player Safety won't be taking this any further. First, there is nothing to suggest this was an intentional headshot. Dano was facing away from the play until he turned toward Watson's direction. On the flip side, you can argue Watson had plenty of time to slow his roll since that was the case.
Second, while DOPS is wildly inconsistent, worse hits than this have resulted in only two minute minors. Yes, the hit is a penalty but there will probably be innumerable arguments on whether a match penalty was too severe. Hopefully when they review the hit (they always do) that will be taken into consideration.
It wasn't a good hit, and you hate to see players get injured. I don't have a problem with the severity of the penalty, but there shouldn't be anything more than that.
The Predators killed off the ensuing five-minute major.