As soon as Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev went out of his way to deliver a hit to Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitchell Marner in the first period of Thursday’s game that Toronto won 2-1 in overtime, fans and observers pointed out that Sergachev was likely to miss some time:
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety confirmed the news Friday and announced that Sergachev has been suspended two games for an illegal check to the head.
“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,” the league explained in a video, per Gavin Lee of Pro Hockey Rumors.
“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.”
Sergachev will forfeit $48,000 of his salary per the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. That cash goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Thus far, Sergachev has recorded two goals and four assists this season.
The 5-3-2 Lightning next play at the 3-6-1 Ottawa Senators on Saturday afternoon.