Was Joel Farabee’s hit the other night late? Yes.
Did it merit a three-game suspension? No way.
That’s the contention of Flyers coach Alain Vigneault who said this whole incident could have been avoided had officials called a cross-checking penalty on Winnipeg’s Adam Lowry. That hit immediately preceded Farabee injuring Mathieu Perreault with a late body check and occurred seemingly in front of referee Peter MacDougall. It was referenced by the NHL in the explanation of Farabee’s three-game suspension.
“If you listen to the explanation from the NHL, they say he [Farabee] was pushed from behind – he was cross-checked from behind. It should have been a penalty. We should have been going on the power play,” the coach said measuring his words, but making his point.
Farabee was given a five-minute major penalty and thrown out of Sunday’s game. The league handed down the extra punishment the following day.
What also irked Vigneault was a comparison to the hit delivered by Ottawa’s Mark Borowiecki on Travis Konecny on Dec. 7. That also was an open-ice hit which knocked Konecny out for three games. Bororwiecki was neither penalized for the hit nor suspended.
“The time between the puck being passed and the hit [by Farabee] was 1.34 seconds – which is late,” Vigneault said. “But TK’s hit just a few days before was 1.04. There’s .3-something seconds difference. One is nothing. One is a three-game suspension to a young man who has no history [of disciplinary issues].”
Borowiecki, a rugged defenseman in his sixth full season, does have history, including two suspensions in the same week in October, 2018.
Konecny is returning to the lineup tonight for the game against Anaheim. He declined to call Borowiecki’s hit on him a dirty play.
“I feel like those two hits were a little different, so I can’t really compare them,” Konecny said. “I had the puck on my stick and he hit me. I wasn’t watching. I should know who is on the ice at all times. He’s definitely a player who is going to take advantage of a player who is not looking. It’s my fault. I didn’t have my head up.”
Vigneault, who is in his 17th season as an NHL head coach, finished his thoughts by shaking his head and grimacing.
“Sometimes things are hard to figure out,” he sighed. “You just have to roll with it and deal with it.”