Monday, January 11, 2016

Edmonton's Matt Hendricks gets three games for hit on Ekblad

Edmonton's Matt Hendricks will be suspended for three games without pay after his reckless hit on Florida Panthers' defenseman Aaron Ekblad on Sunday night.


"Hendricks hits forcefully into Ekblad's back shoulder, driving Ekblad face-first into the glass with significant impact," says the NHL's Department of Player Safety. "It's important to note that at no point is Ekblad eligible to be checked by Hendricks on this play. From the moment Hendricks hits the top of the face-off circle, he sees nothing but Ekblad's numbers."

Ekblad was woozy after this hit, and while he returned to last night's game, he was deemed unavailable by the Panthers for Monday night's game in Vancouver.

There was quite a bit of discussion on Monday about this hit, as many knew that Hendrick's hit on Ekblad was a reaction to a big hit earlier in the game that Erik Gudbranson layed on Oilers star Taylor Hall. Hendricks fought with Florida's Robert Petrovicky after the hit, but he apparently wasn't satiated.

After the game, Hendricks denied that his hit was retaliatory in nature. “I don’t hit dirty,” he said. “I’ve never been known to hit dirty. I thought it was a clean hit. I’m glad he came back and played. I’d feel bad if he was injured from that.”