Hockey World Blog

KHL’s Zakharchuk Suspended Eight Games for Dirty Hit

The way hockey is played all over the world from mini-mites and juniors to the NHL and beer leagues has changed over the course of the 26 years I’ve been lacing up the skates. I remember the NHL of the 90’s where big hits to the head and neck were common and un-penalized.

But in today’s era of concussion awareness and a crackdown on dirty hits, severe hits to above the chest and below the knees will be severely penalized. And today we saw that in the KHL.

Ak-Bars Kazan defenseman Stepan Zakharchuk delivered a open-ice hit to the head of Magnitogorsk defenseman Alexander Budkin Tuesday night. And it took no time for the league to drop the hammer with a fine and an eight-game suspension.

From the KHL:

In the 31st minute of the match between Metallurg Magnitogorsk and Ak Bars Kazan, visiting defenseman Stepan Zakharchuk was sent to the locker room after being called for charging. After reviewing the incident, the KHL Disciplinary Committee ruled that the foul was one of injuring an opponent by checking to the head and neck area. As a result, the major plus game misconduct penalty (5+20 minutes) remains in force, but Zakharchuk has also been fined and suspended for eight games.


The officials made the right call in the moment by penalizing him with a five minute major for charging to go along with a game misconduct. Dirty plays like this do not belong in hockey and strides have been made over the last decade-plus to protect the players and to teach youngsters to deliver hits the correct way.

The hit occurred midway through the second period and the game was scoreless at the time. Ak Bars went on to post a 2-1 victory.

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