The St. Louis Blues won game five of the Stanley Cup Final, but might lose a forward in the process. The Department of Player Safety has announced that Ivan Barbashev will have a hearing regarding an illegal check to the head of Boston Bruins forward Marcus Johansson.
Barbashev came at Johansson as he was trying to take a shot and made clear high contact, spinning the Boston player into the ice. There was no penalty on the play, but fans were immediately up in arms about the hit that seemed to snap Johansson’s head backwards. That sight is not a good one for a player that has dealt with concussion issues in the past, including one caused by Brad Marchand, now a teammate.
The Blues have been increasing the physicality of the series in each game, and there were several other incidents in last night’s affair that could have been considered by the league. Boston, who often find themselves playing the aggressor, will have to overcome this latest challenge and win on the road if they want to have a chance in the series. They’ll at least be able to avoid Barbashev, as the play will likely cause a suspension of at least one game.