Philipp Kurashev finishes a hard check on Erik Johnson
Photo credit: MSG

Controversial boarding major causing a great deal of debate; dirty play or entirely accidental?

Published January 19, 2024 at 11:03

Anyone who has played hockey knows how fast-paced the game can be. Everything is amplified in the NHL, leaving players with less time and space to make adjustments and, as a result, sometimes a player makes the wrong decision in the moment, which can lead to an unfortunate injury. Such was the case last night in Buffalo.

During the 3rd period of last night's Blackhawks/Sabres game, Hawks forward Philipp Kurashev was going in hard on the forecheck against Sabres defenseman Erik Johnson, when Johnson tried to lean on his edges and change directions with the puck, turning his back to Kurashev, who was coming in with speed. As a result of the unexpected stop-up, Kurashev ended up driving Johnson head/shoulder-first into the boards and then went flying over top of him, colliding with the boards himself.

The play has generated quite a bit of discussion since last night, with some suggesting that it is suspension-worthy, while others have come to Kurashev's defense, pointing the finger at Johnson for making a reckless play and putting himself in a vulnerable position.

The officials sided with those who believed that the hit was dirty, slapping Kurashev with a 5-minute major for boarding. Johnson finished his night early with just over 11 minutes of ice time in the contest.

The NHL's Department of Player Safety has not yet made its decision on the play, so we don't yet know whether Kurashev will face any supplemental discipline. Do you think the hit was a dirty one, or just an unfortunate outcome? Let us know in the poll below!
January 19   |   365 answers
Controversial boarding major causing a great deal of debate; dirty play or entirely accidental?

Do you think this Philipp Kurashev hit on Erik Johnson was dirty or just unfortunate?

Definitely dirty. He launched into him13938.1 %
Not dirty, just unfortunate15843.3 %
That's just hockey, baby!6818.6 %
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