Oilers coach Todd McLellan said Brandon Davidson will be day-to-day after a blow to the head from Kings winger Tanner Pearson, who was given a major penalty and game misconduct for his high hit.
The Edmonton Oilers’ pre-season trip to Vernon, B.C., was a successful one on the scoreboard, but it came at a price as a high hit from Los Angeles Kings winger Tanner Pearson in the second period could leave the Oilers without defenseman Brandon Davidson for some time.
Midway through Sunday’s exhibition tilt between the rivals, the puck was worked into the neutral zone by the Kings, at which point it was spun to the middle of the ice and onto the tape of Davidson. As he reached in to tap the puck forward, Davidson was met by a hard-charging Pearson, who leaned in to hit the Oilers blueliner and caught him squarely on the chin with his shoulder.
The hit, intentional or not, left Davidson down on the ice and needing help from the medical staff, and though he was able to leave the ice on his own accord, Davidson headed straight to the dressing room and did not return to the game.
Post-game, Oilers coach Todd McLellan said that Davidson is listed as day-to-day, and there’s no current timeline for his return.
As for Pearson, though, he might have a definite timeline for when he’s suiting up next if the NHL’s Department of Player Safety decides to deliver a suspension for the high hit — a check that saw Pearson receive a major penalty for an illegal check to the head and a game misconduct.
It certainly won’t work in Pearson’s favor that Davidson’s head was the principal point of contact, nor will it help that he does appear to lift his body up and through the check. However, the lean in by Davidson could potentially help lessen the likelihood that Pearson sees himself sitting out.
(And while the main concern is Davidson’s health and Pearson’s fate, it’s worth noting how the play would have continued had Pearson not injured Davidson and had play not been blown dead. Watch closely as Connor McDavid scores an incredible, highlight-reel goal just as play is blown down. That could have been one of the goals of the year.)
UPDATE: The NHL's Department of Player Safety announced Wednesday that Pearson has been suspended for the remaining two games of the Kings' pre-season schedule, and Pearson will also be forced to sit out the first two games of the regular season. Patrick Burke, the NHL's director of player safety, said that the DoPS accepted Pearson's assurance that he didn't intend to target Davidson's head, but the onus was on Pearson to avoid clipping Davidson and causing injury.
"Pressured by Oilers backcheckers, Kings forward Tyler Toffoli throws a backhand pass towards center. Pearson pursues the loose puck with speed as Davidson steps up to pick off the pass. Davidson attempt to make a quick pass to a teammate. As he does, Pearson attempts to get a piece of Davidson by extending up and into the head of Davidson, making his head the main point of contact on a hit where such contact was avoidable."
Pearson's punishment was limited thanks to no prior history, but the fact that Davidson was injured on the play did impact the suspension length. Davidson remains day-to-day, and did not return to the game following Pearson's head.
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