[Update: The hearing will be tomorrow afternoon. The hearing is also about whether Fistric left his feet, not because of a hit to the head.]
As expected, Mark Fistric will be talking to the NHL about his hit on Nino Niederreiter from Saturday night's loss to the New York Islanders. A hearing is not a precursor to suspension, however, as Brenden Shanahan has shown this season he wants to talk things over with the players even if no suspension comes from his decision. The hearing is not yet scheduled, according to TSN's Bob McKenzie, although one is expected soon. I think Shanahan is busy with Jordin Tootoo first.
The hit on Niederreiter has sparked some intense -- and obviously biased -- debate about the legality of the hit and even a debate over what actually happened. Islanders fans are convinced it was a clear head shot with intent, while Stars fans feel that if the head was indeed contacted, it was only after initial contact was shoulder to shoulder, and it was not a glancing blow.
More after the jump.
For Stars fans, all we are asking for is consistency. When Tomas Vincour was laid out with a very similar hit by Luke Schenn, many fans felt that perhaps a suspension was warranted. When Shanahn decided otherwise, fans respected the decision based on Shanahan's track record so far this year and with this Fistric hit, we are looking for the same consistency on this decision. To me I don't feel the hits are exactly the same since the point of impact came from two different angles and Schenn obviously was leading with his forearm, however there is certainly similarities here as to how the hits are being judged.
Personally, I'll respect whatever decision Shanahan makes and I look forward to the video explanation if a suspension is given. Fistric is not technically a repeat offender, although he was fined two years ago for smacking Eric Nystrom with his own helmet. Despite what some may be saying, Fistric does not have a history of "dirty" hits and even said on our podcast how he feels head-high hits are unnecessary and how he's not concerned with the new rules as he doesn't make those sorts of hits.
If you look at the replay, to me it shows Fistric actually ducking lower to make the hit at shoulder level on Niederreiter, although that opinion is being disputed by how Fistric "explodes" through the hit. It's unfortunate that Niederreiter was injured (I think the injury is from his head smacking the ice) and we hope he returns soon to the ice, but I still don't feel that hits should be judged on the injury. We shall see.