Philadelphia Flyers defender Matt Niskanen has been suspended for Game 6 of her NHL playoff series against Montreal for breaking Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher with a cross-check, Player Safety’s NHL division announced Thursday. .
The Canadiens said Gallagher required surgery and will not return after the series. Game 6 is scheduled for Friday night in Toronto.
The incident happened at 14 minutes, 52 seconds from the third period in Game 5 on Wednesday, with Montreal on a power play. When Niskanen played the puck, Gallagher crossed him on the cross to make a turnover. Niskanen then delivered a cross-check to Gallagher, punched him in the face and broke his mouth. Gallagher went to the bank of Montreal with a mouth full of blood.
The Flyers ‘argument at the NHL Player Safety hearing on Thursday was that Niskanen did not intend to hit Gallagher in the head, but rather his upper body, and that this play is just like defenders’ players. move the puck in a game, with punishment usually handled by the officials on the ice instead of by Player Safety.
There was also the problem of Gallagher’s body position. Player safety factor in the incidental body position of the player at the receiving end of the illegal game. Niskanen came down with his stick in an attempt to get Gallagher’s shoulder, instead of focusing on his head. Gallagher was crawling down and trying to play a bouncing puck when the blow was delivered.
Flyers coach Alain Vigneault defended Niskanen, who was fined only once earlier in his NHL career.
“In my estimation, Gallagher stood up and did well. He talked to the referees. The whole time he sat on the bench, he talked to our players for the rest of the game,” Vigneault said. “Gallagher is a very competitive player, but I do not think it’s Nisky’s fault. [Gallagher] might not be as tall as the other guys, but he competes as big as not bigger than anyone else. “
The Canadiens put pressure on the NHL during their consultation by releasing injury information about Gallagher and publish their own angle of the incident on social media.
NHL Player Safety uses injuries on a play to determine the length of the suspension, rather than when there should be a suspension.