What should we make of the video above where Kris Letang cross-checks an NHL official? As the linesman comes in to separate two players after an icing call, he brushes past Letang and shifts him out of his way. The Pittsburgh defenseman appears to take offense and gives the official a light cross-check in the side.
Some fans are clamoring for Letang to receive some sort of discipline for striking an official. The evidence is there and it's pretty incriminating. You have to imagine that the official would have immediately done something about the situation had he truly felt threatened. Perhaps the official wasn't aware of what actually happened which would explain his lack of a reaction. However, you have to imagine the NHL would be aware of this situation and address it.
Regardless, rule #40 in the NHL rule book states:
Any player who deliberately applies physical force to an official in any manner, which physical force is applied without intent to injure, or who spits on an official,shall be automatically suspended for not less than ten (10) games.
Any player who deliberately strikes an official and causes injury or who deliberately applies physical force in any manner against an official with intent to injure, or who in any manner attempts to injure an official shall be automatically suspended for not less than twenty (20) games. (For the purpose of the rule, “intent to injure” shall mean any physical force which a player or goalkeeper knew or should have known could reasonably be expected to cause injury.)
Letang's actions don't seem to fit into the 20-game suspension category, but they certainly appear to fall in line with the 10-game minimum definition. If we are following the official NHL rules, Letang deserves a suspension for knowingly striking an official. He looks up, sees who brushed against him, and checks the official as he skates by.
Of course, we've seen other incidents where a player strikes an official go unpunished, so don't be surprised if the NHL opts to avoid their own rules yet again.
(H/T Reddit Hockey)