Controversy Reigns Over NHL’s Handling Of Dirty Brendan Gallagher Elbow

It was ugly to watch, as New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech took an elbow to the head at high speed from Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher, and went splattering to the ice holding his head. Further controversy today as NHL Player Safety has announced that Gallagher will NOT have an in-person hearing when determining the punishment, meaning that the maximum discipline will be a 5 game suspension.

Gallagher received a five-minute major and game misconduct for the illegal check.

Clearly, on the replays, we can see how far Gallagher reached up his elbow to hit Pelech’s jaw and his head can be seen snapping back.

The likely reasoning for the NHL’s phone-only hearing is that this was a “first offense” by Gallagher. But should that really be the determining factor in such a blatantly dangerous high hit? Followers around the league are puzzled by the decision.

On the Daily Faceoff podcast, insider Frank Seravalli said "It feels like they're missing the plot on this one," while host Tyler Yaremchuk said he was "quite frankly stunned that he wasn't offered an in-person hearing. It's just stupid."

Former Canadien PK Subban added,  "I don’t want to see hits like this in the game and Player Safety has got to step up.”  

Gallagher’s phone hearing will come later today, and a suspension of 5 games or less will be levied.

The discourse over this will continue, however, long past the NHL Player Safety ruling.