Andrew Ference will likely face the Stephammer after his hit on Zack Kassian Saturday night at Rexall. Ference was whistled for a minor "Illegal Check To Head" at 14:03 of the 2nd period after his shoulder contacted Kassian's head in the midst of a check in the Oilers zone. While specific intent might be questioned, the fact that Ference launched himself into the hit is going to cost him. I'm surprised he wasn't whistled for a major and a misconduct, but I have the luxury of slow-motion replay while referees Dennis LaRue and Francois St. Laurent did not.
Given Player Safety's past statements about using a player's history to divine the terms of his punishments, Ference is likely to face a multi-game suspension, especially in light of his recent history with Player Safety. In the playoffs two years ago against the Maple Leafs, Ference hit Mikhail Grabovski in the head:
To quote Shanahan:
Ference makes the decision to check Grabovski after playing the puck. However, in doing so, he lunges toward Grabovski, extending his left arm and shoulder, picking Grabovski's head and making it the principal point of contact."
Here's a still taken from the clip above to show the impact point on Kassian:
Ference's shoulder is squarely planted on Kassian's face, which is bad enough in and of itself. However, key to Quintal's decision will likely be Ference's feet. Both feet are clearly off of the ground, and his plant foot, his right one in this case, is moving vertically, indicating he launched himself upwards into Kassian and at his head.
Ference was also suspended three seasons ago after this hit on the Rangers' Ryan McDonagh:
There's little doubt that Ference's recent history will determine the suspension for this hit. I've typically overestimated the Shanahammer and guessed at five or six-game suspensions, so I'll adjust down for that and go with three games for Ference.