Thursday night, the Minnesota and Calgary were locked into a heated rivalry game. In waning seconds of the third period, the Wild trailed the Flames 2-0. With 55 seconds remaining in the game, Wild defenseman Matt Dumba saw Flames center Mikael Backlund skating with the puck in the Flames end. Dumba lined up Backlund and ran him over, delivering a massive hit.
The hit incensed the Flamers bench. Enter fourth line forward Ryan Lomberg, he chased Dumba down, grabbed him and started punching him. The on-ice officials soon intervened. When the dust cleared, Dumba was still on the ice and Lomberg was in the showers with a seven minutes in penalties (two-minute minor instigator, five-minute major fighting, and a game misconduct).
Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau on the hit in question;
“Dumba’s hit, the guy was facing him, (Backlund) had his head down a little bit,” Boudreau said. “Good hockey hit to me. The other part, guy comes flying off the bench. I don’t know if (Lomberg) was sent out or not because he’s certainly not playing the last minute-and-a-half of the game no matter what the score is, so we’ll have to let the NHL make a decision.”
From the Calgary Sun:
When asked if Dumba’s hit was clean, Peters — who was steaming mad on the bench when the hit happened — rolled his eyes, scoffed, and referred to the final 3:20 when the Wild pulled their net.
“We created a turnover in the neutral zone and Backlund had the puck and got tripped — that’s a goal. It’s 3-0 game over,” Peters said. That’s where it should have ended . . . ref the whole game, play 60 minutes as a player, don’t put the whistle away as a ref . . . I think there was a trip on Backlund from (Mikael) Granlund.”
It will be interesting to see what happens in the next game between the two teams. The NHL’s Department of Players Safety will take a look at this incident. Lomberg will receive a one-game suspension for instigating a fight in the final five minutes of a game. Dumba’s hit will get a look, too.
From the other side of the ice.
It’s easy to figure out why Lomberg was on the ice, he has one assist in 10 NHL games, there’s no way he’d be on the ice if Dumba hadn’t hit Backlund, the Flames sent him out for retribution. Hence, the suspension.
People will compare this hit to some of the hits by Capitals forward Tom Wilson. IMHO, I don’t think that Dumba was targeting Backlund’s head. That decision isn’t up to me. Again, the Department of Players Safety will look at the incident and make a decision on the matter and render a decision.
Update: Lomberg has been suspended by the NHL and the Flames head coach Bill Peters has been fined $10,000.