NEW YORK, N.Y. - Rangers forward Carl Hagelin was suspended for three games by the NHL on Sunday for elbowing Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson in the head during New York's loss in Game 2 of the first-round Eastern Conference series.
Hagelin apologized earlier Sunday, after a telephone hearing with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, and hoped to avoid punishment beyond the major penalty he served Saturday night. But instead, he will miss the next three games of the best-of-seven series.
The Senators didn't escape unscathed, either, as defenceman Matt Carkner was given a one-game suspension Sunday for his role in a one-sided fight he started against Rangers forward Brian Boyle just 2:15 into Game 2. Carkner was given a major penalty for fighting, and was ejected.
Hagelin's hit on Alfredsson occurred at 10:32 of the second period in the Ottawa end. After Alfredsson moved the puck along the boards, Hagelin landed his elbow on Alfredsson's head, sending him into the glass.
"After Alfredsson chips the puck up the boards, Hagelin continues on his path and finishes his check with his arms high, recklessly striking Alfredsson in the side of head with his elbow," league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan said in a video explanation that accompanied the announcement of the suspension. "This hit is a clear violation of what is defined by NHL rules as elbowing.
"It is important to note that while Alfredsson saw this hit coming, and attempted to brace himself for it, in doing so he did not significantly change the position of his head. Also, although Alfredsson's stick briefly comes up prior to contact, we do not feel this is a reasonable excuse for the elbow that took place. It is important to note that Alfredsson suffered an injury on this play. He immediately went to the dressing room and did not return to the game."
There was no update Sunday on Alfredsson's condition or playing status.
The Rangers were miffed by the severity of Hagelin's punishment in light of Nashville's Shea Weber receiving only a $2,500 fine for smashing the head of Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg into the glass at the end of Game 1 of that series. Zetterberg wasn't injured on the play.
"The New York Rangers accept the NHL's three-game suspension of Carl Hagelin and will not pursue an appeal," the team said in a statement. "However, we are thoroughly perplexed in the ruling's inconsistency with other supplementary discipline decisions that have been made throughout this season and during the playoffs."
The Rangers and Senators are tied 1-1, so the rookie Hagelin could be done for the series should it end in five games, or be finished for the season if New York loses the next three games.
The fact that Hagelin hasn't received a prior fine or suspension during his rookie NHL season prevented this punishment from being harsher.
Carkner was suspended for "continuing to inflict punishment upon an opponent who was an unwilling combatant in an altercation," the NHL said in its announcement.
"Carkner instigated an altercation with New York forward Brian Boyle, who did not respond. After knocking Boyle to the ice with two punches, Carkner continued to throw punches at his opponent, who was an unwilling combatant. Carkner's actions classified him as an 'aggressor' under NHL rules."
Carkner, who was a healthy scratch in Game 1, was put into the Game 2 lineup to add more grit to the Senators. He was also given a penalty for instigating.