Hockey continues to prove to be one of the toughest sports there is to play. Saturday's game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens is another example. Mikhail Grabovski allegedly bit Canadiens' forward Max Pacioretty during a fight. Grabovski faced a disciplinary hearing for the incident, but the league has decided to not move forward with any discipline actions.
The unfortunate thing is that this sort of incident most likely happens in hockey more times than ever noticed by officials. During a fight at 11:30 of the third period in Toronto's 6-0 victory against Montreal, Grabovski appeared to make a "biting motion" on Pacioretty. Brandon Prust attempted to run Grabovski and fight broke out behind the net. Pacioretty grabbed Grabovski's face from behind and is now claiming he bite his hand. Both Pacioretty and Grabovski were handed 10-minute misconducts, while Grabovski also earned an extra two-minute minor for roughing.
Both team's benches were clearly angered with calls on the ice, claiming cheap shots by the opponents.
"Prust, we know what kind of player he is. He goes out and cheap-shots Grabovski. What are we supposed to do? Not play the rest of our players the rest of the night? They got another thing coming. That's not happening to our group," said Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle.
Grabovski then attended a disciplinary hearing for the instance, per the request of the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety. Both players were interviewed about the incident and additional video was reviewed, as well as medical reports. They concluded there was not sufficient evidence to support imposing any sort of discipline. The NHL has proved in the past that it will not suspend the accused biter if there is not clear and conclusive evidence that the crime took place.
It is easy to see in the video that something bothered Pacioretty, judging by his quick reaction to something during the fight. However, the video does not show Grabovski clearly biting his arm or hand. It will be interesting if some kind of backlash occurs when the two teams meet up again later this month. Knowing the NHL, something will happen.