The NHL Department of Player Safety has suspended Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang for one game for his hit on Marcus Johansson of the Capitals. The hit occurred last night in game three of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.
Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang suspended 1 game for interference on Washington’s Marcus Johansson. Video: https://t.co/lSVEm2DQ0T
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) May 3, 2016
Letang received a two-minute minor for interference on the play. Johansson, after heading to the locker room to go through the NHL’s concussion protocol, returned to the ice and finished the game with no apparent issues. However, he was held out of practice on Tuesday afternoon due to an upper-body injury.
According to head coach Barry Trotz, he’ll be reevaluated on Wednesday prior to game four.
According to the video, Letang initiates the hit after the puck is released and contact occurs outside the allowable window in which a player can finish a check. However, the head is not the principle point of contact so it’s deemed interference and not a hit to the head.
Letang’s suspension will pose a challenge to the Penguins who are already without defenseman Olli Maatta. He plays a crucial role on Pittsburgh’s blue line, averaging over 29 minutes per game in the postseason. He also leads the Penguins’ defensemen in playoff scoring with seven points through eight games played.