The Department of Player Safety announced a two-game suspension for Tampa Bay Lightning Mikhail Sergachev following his hit on Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner Thursday night. As the accompanying video explains:
It is important to note that Marner’s head is the main point of contact on this hit. Sergachev’s shoulder and back make substantial contact with Marner’s jaw, as the head takes the brunt of the force of the check. It is also important to note that the head contact on this play is avoidable. While Marner is bent slightly and being slowed by the hook, he does not change the position of his head or body just prior to, or simultaneous with the check, in a way that significantly contributes to the head being the main point of contact.
If he wants to deliver this hit, Sergachev must stay low and take an angle of approach that hits through Marner’s shoulder and core, rather than one that makes the head the main point of contact.
The league admitted that though Sergachev has been fined in the past, it deemed him to have no relevant history. The Tampa Bay defenseman’s fine was for a dangerous cross-check in 2019. Marner also did not suffer a serious injury on the play and did not even leave the game. Marner explained after the game that Sergachev apologized to him in the second period.
Coming off the overtime loss to the Maple Leafs, the Lightning will be without Sergachev for their afternoon tilt Saturday in Ottawa and Tuesday’s game against the undefeated Carolina Hurricanes.