Sometimes NHL postseason hockey is not for the faint of heart. Friday night at Amalie Arena, Chris Kunitz committed the most reckless play of Game One, ripping the helmet off of Tom Wilson’s head.
It doesn’t sound that bad until you see the actual replay.
After getting in a shoving match with Cedric Paquette, Wilson was engaged by Kunitz, a four-time Stanley Cup champion and one of the dirtiest players in the game.
Kunitz grabbed Wilson by the strap of his helmet and pulled him down to the ice as hard as he possibly could.
Here’s a slomo and zoomed in shot of the play in question. The helmet pull caused a whiplash effect on Wilson’s neck.
Wilson initially struggled to get up and was in pain.
The Capitals forward got a neck massage at the bench from head athletic trainer Jason Serbus.
For his deed, Kunitz was given a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct likely due to Rule 75.2 (ii).
Rule 75 – Unsportsmanlike Conduct
75.1 Unsportsmanlike Conduct – Players and non-playing Club personnel are responsible for their conduct at all times and must endeavor to prevent disorderly conduct before, during or after the game, on or off the ice and any place in the rink. The Referees may assess penalties to any of the above team personnel for failure to do
75.2 Minor Penalty – A minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct shall be assessed under this rule for the following infractions:
(i) Any identifiable player who uses obscene, profane or abusive language or gestures directed at any person.
(ii) Any player who is guilty of unsportsmanlike conduct including, but not limited to hair-pulling, biting, grabbing hold of a face mask, etc. If warranted, and specifically when injury results, the Referee may apply Rule 21 – Match Penalties.
(iii) Any player who throws any object onto the ice from the players’ or penalty bench (or from any other off-ice location).
(iv) A player who deliberately removes his jersey prior to participating in an altercation or who is clearly wearing a jersey that has been modified and does not conform to Rule 9 – Uniforms, shall be assessed a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct and a game misconduct. If the altercation never materializes, the player would receive a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct and a ten-minute misconduct for deliberately removing his jersey.
Wilson would finish the game. It’s unknown if he’s suffering from any ill effects due to the play the day after.
On social media, the play was almost universally seen as dirty, except to Penguins fans who celebrated Kunitz’s helmet rip. Some even believed it was a tribute to Zach Aston-Reese – the Pens forward Tom Wilson injured in the second round.
Here’s my GIF of the play that went semi-viral in hockey circles.
Chris Kunitz rips Tom Wilson's helmet off in a very painful manner. Ouch. pic.twitter.com/ty9WPAvmm6
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) May 12, 2018
Here’s some of the responses I’ve been getting in my menchies.
Once a Penguin always a Penguin 💯 https://t.co/1f6XCJG9eX
— Jake Elders (@JakeElders15) May 12, 2018
— Matt Smidowicz (@Smitty329) May 12, 2018
atta a boy kuni https://t.co/dxFRndoCIO
— Lisa (@LETsGO_PENGUINS) May 12, 2018
I like Kunitz even more now https://t.co/gSbENrrCAE
— GunpopWashingmachine (@chunkinaround2) May 12, 2018
He's getting him back for the pens https://t.co/7ccqUYLOL1
— MichaelHinkfuss (@MichaelHinkfuss) May 12, 2018
Sassmaster servin up some karma https://t.co/anpUbHbvDv
— trhalty boi (@KitKaat_22) May 12, 2018
"This is for Aston-Reese." https://t.co/4ILsoH7TQX
— Live and Let Dynasty (@Sam_Wise730) May 12, 2018
This is why I love Kunitz! https://t.co/hXoBt1jI2O
— Autumn Mozick (@AutumnMozick) May 12, 2018
Pittsburgh is everywhere Tom https://t.co/wGFpM8CRbT
— Sean Thomas (@Timmons_n_Pumba) May 12, 2018
Kuni sticking up for his beloved ex-teammates https://t.co/j1WTsSUu39
— Jacob Ross (@JRoss_20) May 12, 2018
Chris Kunitz is still more loyal to the pens than some people in relationships https://t.co/Mqff5orOHh
— Stanley Crosby 🌼 (@StanleyCrosby87) May 12, 2018
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.