Panthers’ Aaron Ekblad in concussion protocol; Matt Hendricks suspended three games (UPDATED)

Matt Larkin
Aaron Ekblad. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

It doesn’t matter how piping hot the Florida Panthers are. Losing their Clydesdale sophomore defenseman, Aaron Ekblad, is a devastating blow. He was scratched from the Cats’ lineup Monday night with an upper-body injury entering their game against the Vancouver Canucks.

A night earlier, Ekblad took this massive hit from behind from the Edmonton Oilers’ Matt Hendricks. Another look, if you haven’t seen it:

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Suspend him or not: Brad Malone clips Nick Foligno with high hit

Jared Clinton
Brad Malone hits Nick Foligno (via Streamable)

Hurricanes winger Brad Malone has had trouble finding a big role in Carolina’s lineup, but he may not have much of a choice whether or not he suits up for the next couple of games after he dropped Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno with a high hit.

With the Hurricanes leading 2-1 in the third period, Foligno took a stretch pass from Seth Jones and cut across the blueline before putting a pass towards the slot area. As Foligno made the pass, Malone caught Foligno with a high hit that left the Blue Jackets captain down on the ice: Read more

Suspend him or not: Roman Polak ejected for hitting Tyler Toffoli from behind

Ken Campbell
Tyler Toffoli helped off the ice after Roman Polak hit  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

One night after receiving just a minor penalty for drilling an unsuspecting opponent headfirst into the boards, Roman Polak of the Toronto Maple Leafs wasn’t lucky when he did the same thing Wednesday night.

Polak took a major penalty and game misconduct, and possible supplemental discipline, when he hit Tyler Toffoli of the Los Angeles Kings in the first period of Wednesday night’s game. The funny thing is, the hit that earned him a minor penalty the night before for a hit on Mike Santorelli of the Anaheim Ducks looked worse than the one that got him kicked out against the Kings.

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Canucks’ Jannik Hansen hit with $2,000 fine for diving

Jared Clinton
Jannik Hansen (via NHL)

Canucks winger Jannik Hansen is the third player to be handed a fine for diving this season as the NHL announced Thursday the 29-year-old has been fined $2,000 for embellishing a call.

The incident in question came during a Dec. 22 game against Tampa Bay when Hansen drew a call when he was run into by Lightning defenseman Nikita Nesterov while forechecking on a penalty kill. Hansen was trying to slip the check of Nesterov, and instead of driving around him, Hansen instead left his feet in order to sell the call: Read more

Bruins’ Brad Marchand suspended three games, will miss Winter Classic

Matt Larkin
Brad Marchand

Boston Bruins left winger Brad Marchand was all but guaranteed a multi-game suspension for his hit Dec. 29 on Ottawa Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki. The NHL Department of Player Safety made it official following a phone hearing with Marchand Wednesday, suspending him three games, one of which will be the Jan. 1 Winter Classic, hosted by his own team at Gillette Stadium.

Marchand had far too many strikes against him to escape discipline. For one, the hit itself was obvious cause for suspension. As outlined in the DOPS’ explanatory video, Borowiecki was not eligible to be checked on the play, as he wasn’t engaged with the puck. Marchand took a clear, deliberate and unnecessary route to hit Borowiecki, and the collision itself, in which Marchand got low to upend Borowiecki at the legs, was a clear case of clipping.

Once the league decided the hit was worthy of supplemental discipline, Marchand’s past history factored into the sentencing. Being a repeat offender can’t get a player suspended again on its own, but it can make his punishment more severe once the league decides a given play is suspension-worthy, and that’s what happened to Marchand. He’s been suspended three times (this one makes it four) and fined twice. His previous bans were for slew footing, clipping and slew footing. The league considered him a repeat offender because the latter infraction happened in the past 18 months and because he has repeatedly earned discipline for dangerously low hits. Here’s the full explanatory video from the NHL:

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Suspend him or not: Brad Marchand goes low, flips Mark Borowiecki

Jared Clinton
Brad Marchand hits Mark Borowiecki (via YouTube)

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand embraces and excels at his role as one of the peskiest goal scorers in the NHL, but playing with an edge means sometimes he might take a step too far. Tuesday may have been one of those nights.

Midway through the first period of Tuesday’s outing against the Senators, Marchand was deep in Ottawa territory forechecking and attempting to get in on Senators winger Mark Stone. Instead of allowing Marchand to get close, Stone put on the brakes and turned up ice. In order for Marchand to get up ice, he had to maneuver around defenseman Mark Borowiecki, but instead of going around the Senators blueliner, Marchand decided to go through him.

What followed was a questionable low hit that sent Borowiecki flying and crashing to the ice on his face: Read more

AHLer Kurtis MacDermid gets 12-game suspension after vicious check to the head

Jared Clinton
Kurtis MacDermid (Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)

Los Angeles Kings prospect Kurtis MacDermid is no stranger to suspensions, and he’ll be serving a 12-gamer for a vicious hit he threw on San Diego Gulls winger Matt Bailey.

The hit occurred during a Dec. 26 game between the Kings’ AHL affiliate Ontario Reign and Ducks’ AHL affiliate Gulls. Bailey had received a pass as San Diego was exiting the zone and had chipped it around an attacking Reign player when MacDermid came out of nowhere and obliterated Bailey with a dangerous hit that left him down on the ice: Read more

Sharks’ Torres has procedure on knee, might miss more time once 41-game suspension ends

Jared Clinton
Raffi Torres (Photo by Rocky Widner/Getty Images)

San Jose winger Raffi Torres has missed every single game of the Sharks’ season due to a 41-game suspension that he was hit with following a dangerous hit on Anaheim Ducks winger Jakob Silfverberg in the pre-season. Torres’ suspension is nearly up, but the 34-year-old might not be in San Jose’s lineup come game 42.

According to CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz, Torres had a “procedure” on his right knee recently, and the Sharks are unsure whether or not he’ll be able to get back into the lineup when his suspension comes to a close on Jan. 14.

It could have been expected that Torres would need additional surgery, though. In early December, Kurz reported Torres would be welcomed back by the Sharks and coach Peter DeBoer when the 41-game suspension ended, but DeBoer mentioned a potential knee issue.

“The clock is running. We’re getting closer,” DeBoer told Kurz. “He has good days and bad days. He’s still dealing a little bit with his injury from before. I think that’s probably the best way I can put it.” Read more