Dmitry Kulikov (via NHL Department of Player Safety/NHL)
Florida Panthers blueliner Dmitry Kulikov has been suspended for four games following his low hit on Tyler Seguin. Because of the hit, Seguin will be sidelined 3-6 weeks. It is the first suspension of Kulikov’s NHL career.
The hit earned Kulikov a five-minute major for clipping and a game misconduct, while Seguin was forced to leave the game. There was no question that the play would result in a suspension and the four-game ban for Kulikov is the first suspension of his career.
As Department of Player Safety director Patrick Burke says in the video, were the hit to be thrown properly – a hip-to-hip hit, for example – it likely would not have resulted in a suspension. However, as Burke points out, the hit came at Seguin’s knees and flipped him onto his head.
Of note in the suspension video, however, is the onus put on the style in which Kulikov defends Seguin. Burke points to Seguin’s method of playing the puck, that he uses his skates twice, and says because his attention is on the puck that Kulikov has time enough to decide how exactly to defend Seguin.
On Sunday, Kulikov, 24, waived his right to an in-person hearing to discuss the hit with the Department of Player Safety, and, following a Monday phone hearing, the department handed down their four-game ruling.
It was announced on Saturday that Seguin will be out 3-6 weeks.