Updated 7:30 a.m.
No Suspension For Reaney
The CHL has suspended Fort Wayne’s Sean O’Connor for three games for his hit on Rapid City’s Ryan Menei in Game 2 of the Turner Conference semifinals.
“It’s one of those things that has been stressed at the NHL level because of all the injuries,” Rush head coach Joe Ferras told IDS. “It falls right into the Rule 48 category as a lateral blindside hit. The original point of contact was the head.”
“He had 20-25 feet to decided whether he was going to make that hit,” Ferras continued. “Ryan was in a very vulnerable position and he (O’Connor) has to be more responsible and not make that hit. An injury like that can be very devastating to a hockey player. We don’t want to take the physicality out of the game, but at the same time you have to protect players in a vulnerable position,” said Ferras. “
It was determined by the CHL that the hit was in violation of Rule no. 48 an “illegal check to the head” which prohibits a lateral and or blindside hit. No penalty was called on the play by referee Marc-Andre Lavoie. On Monday the league announced that the suspension would be for at least one day, but the final determination was that O’Connor will miss three games was be decided when medical documentation on Menei was reviewed by the league. Menei did not make the trip to Fort Wayne with the team after suffering a concussion as a result of the hit.
“The guys are rallying around it,” said Ferras of Menei’s injury. “Ryan is one of the top players in the Central Hockey League period. Our guys are saying, hey, Ryan has won a lot of games for this club, and they’re using it to come together. I can guarantee the O’Connor kid is feeling bad that Ryan is injured. When it happened you saw the intensity of the game increase. Our guys aren’t going to be intimidated by anyone.”
According to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Komets general manager David Franke did not agree with the league that it was an illegal hit.
“I thought it was a clean hit,” Franke told the Journal Gazette. “But because he had his back to him, this goes to the description of the rule. It is what it is.”
Franke and the Fort Wayne contingent were calling for Rush forward Les Reaney to also be suspended for a hit on O’Connor against the glass in the second period Saturday night. However, the final ruling has come down and Reaney will not be suspended.
Here is another link to the hit on Menei from KOTA: http://www.kotatv.com/category/66524/sports