The NHL Department of Player Safety handed down their ruling on Ryan Garbutt's knee-on-knee hit on Taylor Hall:
NEW YORK – Dallas Stars forward Ryan Garbutt has been suspended for two games, without pay, for kneeing Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall during NHL Game No. 319 in Dallas on Tuesday, Nov. 25, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.
Garbutt is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, will forfeit $43,902.44. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.
The summarized explanation from the video is as follows:
"...Skating back through the middle on the backcheck, and seeing Hall change direction, Garbutt changes his path to check Hall. Rather than deliver a full body check, or lead with his shoulder, Garbutt hits Hall with his extended left knee, making dangerous knee-to-knee contact.
As this play is entirely in front of Garbutt, and he is aware of how any body contact will be delivered, the onus is entirely upon him to make a legal bodycheck. Instead, having approached Hall in a wide skating stance, Garbutt leaves his extended left knee out, to drive into Hall's left knee, causing Hall to spin to the ice."
As I predicted this morning, Player Safety used Hall's lack of injury as a "Key Issue" in reviewing the hit, thereby limiting the scope of their own punishment. Using the resulting injury or lack thereof as a key in doling out punishment remains a pillar of NHL decision-making, but it allows players to get away with some incredibly dirty play, as long as the victim remains in the game.