The NHL’s Department of Player Safety has suspended Edmonton Oilers center Matt Hendricks three games for boarding Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad in a game on Sunday.
The hearing was held late on Monday, with the league not releasing a decision until after a late announcement by the Florida Panthers that Ekblad would be held out of Monday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks. Injury to the opposing player factors into suspension length, so it may have been intentional that the league held onto their ruling until after an announcement was made by the Panthers. Ekblad is currently going through the league’s concussion protocol.
No penalty was called on the play, though Hendricks would have to answer the bell later in the game, getting pulled into two fights during the game.
The length of the suspension was heavily influenced by the fact that Ekblad was not eligible to be checked at any point during the play. The video below shows pretty clearly that Hendricks saw nothing but Ekblad’s back from the top of the circles all the way down to the goal line.
Hendricks not having any history of discipline worked in his favor, keeping the suspension to just three games.
The three-game suspension will cost Hendricks $29,838.72 in salary, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.
Hendricks has two goals and seven points through 33 games this season.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.