The Department of Player Safety has handed out the first suspension of the regular season, banning Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche for the next two games. Landeskog delivered a hard check to Chicago Blackhawks forward Kirby Dach in last night’s game. As the accompanying video explains:
It is important to note that Landeskog is in control of this play. Dach is on one knee facing the wall, and is defenseless in this situation. Sliding along the ice with limited ability to evade or brace for contact. Landeskog has enough time to recognize the situation his opponent is in and rather than avoiding contact or minimizing the force of the hit, chooses to drive the vulnerable Dach into the wall with considerable force. It is the combination of the defenseless position Dach is in, the player’s dangerous distance from the boards at the time of contact, and the speed and force of the hit that caused this hit to rise to the level of supplementary discipline.
Notably, Dach did not suffer a serious injury on the play but Landeskog does have three suspensions on his record already. Though he is no longer considered a repeat offender in terms of salary forfeiture, those suspensions are taken into account when deciding suspension length.
The team was already without Nathan MacKinnon last night, who is still in the COVID protocol after a positive test result. They now may be without both for Saturday night’s match against the St. Louis Blues. Landeskog will also miss next Tuesday’s match against the Washington Capitals.