Apr 20, 2013; Ottawa, ON, CAN; Ottawa Senators defenseman Eric Gryba (62) shoot the puck in the first period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Place. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Thoughts On The Eric Gryba-Lars Eller Hit

You never want to see a player get hurt, especially in a pool of blood and a stretcher has to be called onto the ice to help a player in despair.

That being said, it is a fast-moving game and players need to keep their head up at all times.


Depending on which side of the fence you are on, you have your own opinion of the Eric Gryba hit on Lars Eller that occurred in the second period of Game 1 of the Ottawa-Montreal playoff series.

From what I saw, the pass was a breakout suicide pass from Raphael Diaz, who led Eller right into the hit.  Gryba was assessed a major for interference, and a game misconduct on the play.

Was it interference?  Absolutely not, Eller had just touched the puck.  Was it targeting the head?  That is debatable depending on which team you are a fan of.  Montreal fans see the hit a different way than Ottawa fans because one of their own got injured.  Gryba didn’t leave his feet, didn’t alter his direction and caught Eller with his head down coming across the middle looking backwards for a pass.  Never a good idea.  I don’t think the head was the intentional target, but was the result.  Gryba didn’t even seem to raise his shoulder into the play.  He stepped forward to break up a pass and they ran into each other.  Gryba is 6’5″ and 240 lbs.

It was no more predatory than PK Subban skating half way across the ice to deck Chris Neil.

The blood happened when Eller’s face hit the ice, and the result is what the penalty was called on, not Gryba’s action.  It was a reactionary call, and although I would understand the Montreal fans wanting their pound of flesh, but as much blame has to be placed on Diaz and Eller himself for putting Eller in the situation, and as they say, you need to know who is on the ice with you at all times. You can’t fault Gryba for stepping up and doing his job.  It wasn’t dirty, it wasn’t intentional it was unfortunate, and the major penalty turned the tide of the game, at least temporarily.

Tags: Eric Gryba Lars Eller Montreal Canadiens Ottawa Senators Playoffs

  • Grace

    Well he hadn’t actually touched the puck so that’s why the worm will be gone for the rest of the series…

    • http://www.facebook.com/terrymcgurrin Terry McGurrin

      Eller absolutely touched the puck. Watch the replay. The panel showed it clearly at the end of the period.

  • bugzy

    Wont even get 1 game for that gryba shouldnt be punished for his monthly bleeding

  • Pridenpoise

    Payback tonite!

  • Philip

    48.1 Illegal Check to the Head – A hit resulting in contact with
    an opponent’s head where the head is targeted and the principal point of
    contact is not permitted. However, in determining whether such a hit
    should have been permitted, the circumstances of the hit, including
    whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position immediately
    prior to or simultaneously with the hit or the head contact on an
    otherwise legal body check was avoidable, can be considered.

    Principal point of Contact? Check.

    Targeted? Check. Gryba came from the blind side and had plenty of time to choose not to engage the head first (as Kerry Fraser fails to realise – by the time the hip/shoulder contact occurs Eller’s head is already spun around due to it being the principal and first point of contact)

    Put himself in a vulnerable position? Nope. (Diaz did that, not Eller)

    Head contact avoidable? Yes. Target the body – aim 6 inches back of where hit was aimed and you get full body on body.