First things first.
"I think he's going to be okay," Dallas Stars head coach Lindy Ruff said of Cody Eakin's apparent blow to the head delivered by Colton Orr. "We'll see tomorrow."
Eakin was working hard defensively to dig a puck out of the corner to Kari Lehtonen's right, though his club was up 6-1 at the time to start the third, and made the play but paid the price.
The TSN broadcast was quick to point out the perceived legality of the hit repeatedly, from their point of view. Lindy Ruff felt otherwise after the game when asked.
"I watched the hit and I feel from the angle I saw that primary contact was to the head," Ruff opined. "I don't think he got his elbow up but I think his shoulder went right into Eakin's head. It's the type of play we're trying to remove from the game."
Here are the moving pictures:
These angles are tough. The usual red flags (distance traveled, elbows, leaving the feet) don't seem to apply here, and there's little video evidence to use in making a case for an illegal hit- Yet it sure does seem like Eakin's head gets contacted quite a bit. In any case it looks like Eakin saw it coming, though perhaps entirely too late to do anything about it.
The guess here is that nothing comes from it. Certainly not if Eakin is fine. Orr knowing that he's a dinosaur in a league that's moved on and evolved from needing his kind may have to be punishment enough.
There was no incentive to send Eakin back into the game because of the walloping the Stars were administering, so it's hard to judge the severity of the situation as it unfolded. A tied game may have told us more.
What say you?