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November 3, 2009 12:46 PM

Gophers coach protesting hit on Leddy.

I watched the tape of the hit and I don't think it's an illegal hit, just my humble opinion, it's probably a questionable hit but it's basically the same thing as the hit from Mike Richards on David Booth. Portwood didn't lead with his elbow and he kept his shoulder in. I mean seriously, are we going to come up with a rule now that six feet plus players can't hit ones that are under six feet? Nick Leddy knows better, you have to be aware of who is on the ice at all times, you can not leave yourself exposed on the ice especially when player like Jade Portwood is on the ice. The kid is not known for scoring goals, he is on the ice to hit players.

It was a tough hit. I don't think it was anything intentional with the kid but it was still, in my view, after watching the videotape --- the paper had an unbelievable shot of it. [See Sunday's Star Tribune Sports section.] It was a shot to the head.

"As much as you want to say it was a good hit, there are rules put in. And that's why there is zero tolerance for shots to the head. Just as in football, you don't allow crackback blocks. You don't allow blows to the head. You have rules in there to protect the players for a reason. I don't think the kid tried to, but still it was a shot to the head."

Lucia said he has already talked to Greg Shepherd, the supervisor of officials, about the play. "I talked to our referee in chief and I forwarded it and I think those things have to be looked at because that is a dangerous play," Lucia said. "Even though you are in a vulnerable position, that doesn't mean you can make that hit like that. That is my opinion. That is why the rule is in there."

One reporter after the Gophers' 4-1 victory over Alaska Anchorage, asked Lucia how a player can avoid a hit like that? "You just can't hit him in the head, plain and simple," Lucia said. "That's why it is in the rulebook. Zero tolerance.

"Look at the concussions in the game today. [Leddy] gets out because of a fractured jaw. Those are the kind of hits you want to eliminate from the game."

Lucia said he does not think Leddy will have to have his jaw wired. "I am hoping that within a week or two he can come out and skate a little bit," Lucia said, "so he can stay in conditioning. We'll see how it goes from here."

Shepherd was at the Gophers vs. Alaska Anchorage game on Sunday. But the on-ice action was very tame compared to Friday's game when there were 35 penalties called for 78 minutes.

On Sunday, there were eight minorrs, four per side, for 16 minutes total .

After the league reviews Portwood's hit on Leddy near the end of the first period, I expect he will suspended for at least one or two games. And it should happen quickly, by Monday or Tuesday.

Portwood is a 6-3, 207-pound sophomore from Victoria, British Columbia.
[Star Tribune]

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