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.

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

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.