Anaheim Ducks forward Evgeny Artyukhin has been suspended for three games, without pay, as the result of a slew-footing incident against Dallas Stars defenseman Matt Niskanen in NHL game #117, Oct. 21. Niskanen sustained an injury on the play.
The incident occurred at 4:23 of the second period. No penalty was assessed on the play.
Artyukhin, who was suspended for two games January 19, 2009, now is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Because of an insanely busy day at work today, I never had the chance to post my thoughts on the game last night which would have included a lengthy diatribe on these types of hits in the NHL. The big, open ice hits that get all the attention are bad but it's these hits that can be the most dangerous. I believe every Stars fan was incensed that no penalty was called during the game, when it was obvious almost immediately what had happened.
I can't tell you how good it is to see the NHL has stepped in and done what was right. This was a calculated hit that could have cause serious and career-threatening injuries to Niskanen, and he's lucky to have been able to skate away (sort of).
Matt Niskanen is out tonight and is out (unofficially) indefinitely with a head injury. The team won't say it, but they are taking the necessary precautions for a concussion. Typically a player will need around a week to get back to playing after even a mild concussion.
For more thoughts on how Mark Messier is fighting these types of injuries, check out my interview with the Hall of Fame player here.