Nikita Nesterov Suspended Two Games for Boarding Curtis McKenzie
The Lightning defenseman will miss the next two games for his board/check from behind that injured Stars forward Curtis McKenzie.
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Nikita Nesterov has been suspended two games by the NHL's Department of Player Safety for injuring Dallas Stars forward Curtis McKenzie on a board/check from behind in Thursday's 5-3 Stars win.
Full video if the incident and the aftermath is available here.
The DoPS video emphasizes that Nesterov saw nothing but McKenzie's numbers from the moment McKenzie was eligible to be hit and that he finished the check rather than pulling up. McKenzie had turned earlier in the play to open up for a pass from Jason Demers and was unable to see Nesterov coming from behind his right shoulder.
McKenzie suffered a lower body injury on the play (and looked woozy coming off the ice as well) and has been placed on injured reserve.
Two games seems fitting for a player like Nesterov who does not have disciplinary history to this point and for a play that, while reckless, was at least an attempt at a hockey hit on the puck carrier. The sheer danger of hits like this, though, means they will be met with punishment from the NHL. You are just not allowed to launch a player off his feet into the boards from this distance because as we all saw, it often ends in injury.
Unless your name is Connor McDavid, of course.