On Tuesday night in the KHL matchup between Metallurg Magnitogorsk and Ak Bars Kazan, Kazan defenseman Stepan Zakharchuk laid a huge, dirty hit on Metallurg’s Aleksandr Budkin.
It was not pretty.
Vid of brutal Zakharchuk hit on Budkin on Tuesday pic.twitter.com/4hZH9DXQ3D
— 🚨 Graham Dumas 🏒 (@GrahamRMNB) September 30, 2017
Zakharchuk, who cleaned out Budkin at speed in open ice, was first called for charging, receiving a major and a match penalty.
After the KHL’s Sports Disciplinary Committee reviewed the hit, however, it was re-designated an illegal hit to the head, resulting in an eight-game suspension.
In the opposite-angle replay, Zakharchuk can be seen leading with his elbow straight into Budkin’s face.
Ak Bars coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov, who also led the Russian National Team from 2011 to 2014, told Sport Express’s Yuri Shirinkin that Zakharchuk “didn’t leave his feet” on the hit.
Some analysts were quick to note that Budkin was not free of blame for having kept his head down before the collision. In one such exercise of notable hyperbole and poor taste, Championat.ru’s Pavel Panyshev wrote that “players like Zakharchuk are necessary in the KHL” because “otherwise everyone will skate with their heads down.”
Others were certain that the suspension was proper. Former Metallurg assistant coach Sergei Gomolyako said that Zakharchuck “deserved” the suspension “because he has done things like this more than once. That sort of dirty play needs to be seriously punished.”
KHL TV analyst and former vice-president of hockey operations for Traktor Chelyabinsk Aleksei Badyukov pulled no punches in describing Zakharchuk as “out to commit open murder.”
Budkin missed at least one game as a result of his injury. His status for Sunday’s matchup against Lada is uncertain at this time.
UPDATE 11:28 PM: per the KHL’s website, Budkin will miss at least a month with what the League describes as a “serious” concussion.
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