The Toronto Maple Leafs saw forward Leo Komarov earn himself a ten minute major penalty for his shot to the head of New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh last night.
Now, they’ll miss the energetic winger for three upcoming games, as he’s earned a ban from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety:
Toronto’s Leo Komarov suspended three games for elbowing NY Rangers’ Ryan McDonagh. Video: https://t.co/WDUVIwP6PZ
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) February 19, 2016
The hit was the second time in the last month that McDonagh had received a blow to the head, as he was also the recipient of a sucker punch (which earned a match penalty but no suspension) from Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds earlier, as well. McDonagh left the game, and did not return; he would finish with just 6:57 in total ice time and one shot on goal during the 4-2 victory for New York.
Per the Department of Player Safety, here’s the reason for the suspension:
“On Thursday night in Toronto, Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov delivered an elbow to the head of Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, causing an injury.
As the video replay shows, McDonagh jumps into the rush and delivers a quick pass to a teammate at the Maple Leafs blue line. He falls to the ice, then quickly regains his footing as he gathers a loose puck.
As he attempts to deke Leafs forward Nazem Kadri, Komarov approaches him from centre ice, leans towards McDonagh, then deliberately extends his elbow out and into the head of McDonagh. This is elbowing.
It is important to note that Komarov is in control of his play. Backchecking through centre ice, he has ample time to take a good angle of approach and deliver this hit in a legal fashion. While McDonagh is attempting to make a play with the puck, this is not a case where a player’s sudden or explosive movements may change a legal body check into an illegal one.”
The video continues to state that the burden is on Komarov to take a legal angle of approach to the check, but that he threw an elbow upon realizing that he had taken a poor angle into the check that would have caused him to miss the check entirely.
The suspension will hold Komarov out until next Saturday, when the Leafs take on the Montreal Canadiens.