Chicago's Andrew Ladd sparked a big dustup when he slammed into Montreal's Matt D'Agostini during Friday's 3-2 victory over the Canadiens.
But even though Ladd was slapped with a five-minute major for elbowing and a 10-minute misconduct, Hockey Night in Canada's Don Cherry thinks the hit was clean.
"That was a vicious hit … but it's hockey," he said during his Coach's Corner segment Saturday. "[Ladd's] skates were down, [and] he was waiting for him."
Ladd caught D'Agostini with his head down while he had the puck early in the first period, and smacked him with an open-ice hit that left the Canadiens winger dazed on the ice.
Replays of the hit showed Ladd's lead shoulder caught D'Agostini flush in the face. D'Agostini didn't return to the game and was later diagnosed with a concussion.
The hit occurred near the Canadiens' player bench, and Cherry said D'Agostini's teammates should have been shouting warnings.
"Somebody on the bench should've been hollering," he said. "You can't be sleeping there." Habs players on the ice rushed at Ladd after the hit.
D'Agostini has one goal in 11 games for Montreal.
"Don't say that was a bad hit," Cherry said. "Vicious? Yes."