The NHL has ruled it’s a one game suspension for Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin due to swinging a stick at the head of an opponent. From the league release:
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin has been suspended for one game, without pay, for high-sticking Philadelphia Flyers forward Michael Raffl during NHL Game No. 860 in Philadelphia on Monday, Feb. 11, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.
The incident occurred at 15:03 of the third period. Malkin was assessed a match penalty for high-sticking.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Malkin will forfeit $51,075.27. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
For a full explanation of the decision, complete with video, please click on the following link: https://www.nhl.com/video/malkin-suspended-one-game/t-277440360/c-65811803.
It’s nothing that even a Penguin fan can be too upset about - Malkin was extremely reckless with his stick and violated one of the basic tenets of hockey to always be in control of your stick. He wasn’t and it got flung towards an opponent’s head. Luckily it didn’t really connect in a serious way otherwise this suspension is a lot worse.
Also luckily, it didn’t cost Pittsburgh the game. They were up 3-0 at the time and due to Malkin’s match penalty, the Flyers had a power play with unlimited chances to score goals. And they did score a goal just 20 seconds into it. The Pens could have easily choked away a season defining type of game due to the hole Malkin dug them.
This isn’t his first encounter with a questionable play or hit and it is his first career suspension too, which is only going to further the narrative going around the league that all you have to do is hit a Penguin star behind the play and they will retaliate and take a penalty.
Of course all of this is easy to say behind a keyboard and not with a player cross-checking and punching you in the back of the head for no real reason, but Malkin has to be a pro and not respond by swinging a stick at someone’s head. That’s simple and understandable and so too is a one game suspension in this instance.