STORM WELCOME BACK BALMER
Date: May 26, 2018
Player: Steven Lee (Nottingham Panthers #45)
Game: Nottingham Panthers v Sheffield Steelers - 10/02/18
Incident: Major and Game Misconduct - Boarding
With the sequence of the play beginning at centre ice with a dump into the attacking zone by Sheffield Steelers #28 Zack Fitzgerald, a race to the puck ensues.
With Nottingham Panthers #45 Steven Lee the last man back, he turns to pursue the puck, but clearly lacks the speed to gain puck possession first.
At approximately the end zone face off dot, the two players are shoulder to shoulder, with Fitzgerald clearly having more speed.
Knowing that he will not win the foot race to the puck, Lee, approximately from the face off dot to the bottom of the circle, makes two left leg strides to alter himself slightly to the right, and lets up slightly to gain a better defensive position. At this point nothing is illegal.
At the bottom of the face-off circle, Fitzgerald does alter his skating slightly to the right, putting himself directly in front of Lee which is the reason this is not a check from behind.
The play requires supplementary discipline due to Lee using his hands at about pant height to create force to propelling Fitzgerald forcefully and violently into the Boards.
When two players enter at a high rate of speed, 90 degrees to the boards, there is a high probability rate of an illegal act, dangerous situation or possible injury.
Pulling an angle is much more efficient and safer.
For Lee, it is fair to assume he knew he was going to be beaten to the puck at or before the face off dot. This would give Lee a lot of time to alter, change or pick a path that would create an angle and a very low probability of a penalty.
The incident is considered a Category 2 offence – ‘Reckless’ – a deliberate and/or dangerous action with no concern for the result, with a conscious action to provoke, through intent and a wilful purpose. Injury is not the determining factor, but can be considered as influential means to the decision.
The key points of this incident are:
* Avoidable illegal contact.
* Contact to opposing player through backside hand contact to pants.
* Propelled player dangerously and forcefully into the boards.
Based on these factors, the Elite League Department of Player Safety has suspended Steven Lee for 2 games.
NOTE: Lee served one game of his suspension on Sunday 11th February 2018 - Cardiff Devils vs Nottingham Panthers.