The Toronto Maple Leafs won the hockey game on Wednesday Night,, but they may have lost a player in the process. A hit by Roman Polak in the third period of tonight’s 5-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, and for good reason.
Roman Polak gets 5 and a game for an awful hit from behind on Oliver Bjorkstrand. pic.twitter.com/dGguudC3eL
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) March 23, 2017
Polak has developed a reputation for these types of grey-area or worse type hits over the past two years, which has likely caught the eye of the league as a result. In this case, he doesn’t make any hesitation before going all in on the body check which, turn or not, catches Bjorkstrand straight in the numbers. While the individual hit may or may not be suspension-worthy, there’s a chance that getting off easy in the past works against him tonight.
There is no word whether an in-person hearing has been offered, or just a phone call. An offer of an in-person hearing typically comes with a suspension of at least five games. Should Polak miss time, Alexey Marchenko will be most likely to take his place, save for the idea of playing Jake Gardiner on his off-side and bringing Martin Marincin back into the lineup.
Polak received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the hit. The Leafs killed off the ensuing penalty en-route to victory, though thanks to Toronto’s decision to not put a player into the box, they ended up spending a little bit of extra time shorthanded; nearly two whole minutes to be exact. Mike Babcock laughed it off after the game had finished, taking responsibility and stating that the Leafs won’t make the same mistake again with him behind the bench.