Marcus Foligno will not be disciplined by the NHL for punching Tyler Myers in the back of the leg, leading to his injury. While it was hard to see in the game, they were away from the play and both off balance, Foligno is still responsible for his body. Myers was already going to go down awkwardly because of Foligno, but being punched in the leg only helped him.
Foligno will not be punished. Whether it is because it is the playoffs or because the NHL does not see the play as bad; it does not matter. The move was a dangerous one that took a player in a vulnerable position and made him more vulnerable. Myers was not in a position to take a low hit as no player ever is. To make it worse, if this had been actual clipping and not a punch to the knee, the Department of Player Safety would be looking at the move and most likely suspending Foligno as hits to the knees are uniformly frowned upon.
If the NHL is going to say Foligno never intended to hit Myers: intent is hard to prove and the NHL is not the court of law. If every suspension hinged on intent, no one would ever get suspended. Instead, the NHL uses intent as a blanket to protect themselves when they do not know or do not want to deal with an act that is at best on the fringes of legality on the field of play.
Beyond the NHL’s response or lack of one, the concern should be with Myers who has suffered another lower-body injury. I have a long history of foot and ankle problems going back 10 years. One thing I heard at one point is foot/ankle is connected to knee is connected to hip. This means that any lower-leg issues can eventually come back to bit you with your upper-legs which could be the case with Myers and that is bad as he already has a history of hip issues. The second one is once you injure a joint, it becomes more vulnerable to re-injury. My left ankle has an extensive history of injury and this has proven true. After a bad second-degree sprain last fall, my ankle has been giving out on me constantly this winter. I do not have access to the type of care Myers’ has and that could part of the problem, but a body is a body and at some point a joint becomes more vulnerable to re-injury. If this happens to Myers because someone punched him in the leg for no reason, that’s a real shame.
The NHL has a responsibility to their players to keep them safe, even in the playoffs. While it might not look like Marcus Foligno meant to hurt Tyler Myers when he punched him in the back of the leg, he did hurt him and his injury will hurt the Jets as they are already without Tobias Enstrom. A play may look innocent, but going after an opponents knees is never okay no matter how it looks. The play was hard to see, but Myers was vulnerable and Foligno should have been punished based on the illegality of the play and nothing more.