Red Wings/Maple Leafs: Will Clarke MacArthur Keep Shanahan Busy?

Is everybody else sick of the head shot debate yet?

No?  Well, ok. Here's Clarke MacArthur hitting Justin Abdelkader without the puck nearby in a hit where the head appears to be targeted and is definitely the principal point of contact. MacArthur was given two minutes for hi-sticking while Abdelkader earned himself a matching minor for a retaliatory cross check.

This one looks pretty cut-and-dry.  What mitigates things here? Is the hit late? Does Abdelkader skating in a crouch constitute him putting himself in a vulnerable position? Does it even matter without the puck being there? Should Abdelkader be expected to be targeted for contact?

Abby doesn't seem to be any worse for wear, so we're definitely not looking at five regular season games territory, but are we looking at anything more than what Brad Boyes got?  Should we even be looking for that? What, if any effect should the fact that Abdelkader appears to embellish the hit have on any decision?

For MacArthur's history, he has none. While with the Buffalo Sabres, he did draw some attention for a boarding hit on the Oilers' Liam Reddox, but he was not suspended for the act and it's my opinion that the outcome of the play was an unfortunate accident (you can see the video and the post about it on Die By the Blade here).  MacArthur was also quoted in an article from the Toronto Star this March questioning the NHL for failing to suspend Bruins' captain Zdeno Chara for his hit on Max Pacioretty which fractured one of Pacioretty's vertebrae and left him with a severe concussion.

"He broke his neck and no (suspension) — I don’t know what that says," MacArthur said.

I don't envy Shanahan here. The suspensions keep coming and so do the hits, to the point where people are getting tired of dealing with it.

Still, a head shot is a head shot and whether or not MacArthur is a dirty player (he isn't), this is what we're trying to eliminate from the game and once Shanahan started the ball rolling, to stop it would be disastrous. We set the over/under on the Brendan Smith suspension at 6, I'm going to set this one at 1.5. This one looks no more intentional than Brad Boyes' hit on Joe Colborne and seemed to be slightly lighter contact.

What do you think? Should he be suspended?

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