With the annual meeting of NHL general managers fast approaching, the Hockey Night in Canada Hotstove panel discussed both the hit by San Jose Sharks star Joe Thornton on Blues' forward David Perron that earned Thornton a two-game suspension and the lack of clarity around the rule that earned him the ban.
Mike Milbury said Sharks' GM and president Doug Wilson makes the case that the hit was the same as the hit by then Vancouver Canucks defenceman Willie Mitchell on the Chicago Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews last season.
"Not only was [the Mitchell] hit OK, it was in the DVD sent to teams in September saying 'this is an OK hit', Mitchell on Toews," Pierre LeBrun said. "The league told me today that they didn't think that was the same hit, that Thornton went for the head where Mitchell did not."
Milbury responded: "Thornton went for the head and Mitchell didn't?" "Come on, we watched it five times, like, there is a fraction of a difference, maybe there is contact on the head with one and not the other, but if you can differentiate between those two, you're a much brighter man than I."
LeBrun said the similarity between the two hits was a point raised as part of San Jose's appeal on Saturday
"Joe Thornton appealed to commissioner Gary Bettman, [deputy commissioner] Bill Daly was on the call, [director of hockey operations] Colin Campbell, [Sharks head coach] Todd McLellan, Doug Wilson … a lot of heavy artillery [but] the suspension remained," LeBrun said.