NEW YORK – The NHL suspended St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist for one playoff game for boarding Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk during Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.
The league’s Department of Player Safety announced the ruling Thursday, one day after the Blues evened the series at one game apiece. Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday night in St. Louis.
Sundqvist drew a two-minute penalty for boarding on the play, which took place late in the first period. Grzelcyk swept the puck out from behind the Bruins’ net, but Sundqvist crunching the Bruins defenseman against the boards after Grzelcyk released the puck.
“Sundqvist adjusts his course, then hits (Grzelcyk) forcefully from behind with speed, driving him violently into the glass and causing an injury,” the league said in a video announcing the suspension. “This is boarding.
“The boarding rule places the onus to deliver a legal check on the hitter. Therefore while we acknowledge Grzelcyk does adjust his body position in making a play on the puck, he does not do so in a way that absolves Sundqvist of responsibility for the nature of this hit.
“From the moment Sundqvist hits the bottom of the faceoff circle until contact is made Sundqvist sees nothing but Grzelcyk’s numbers. This is not a situation in which a sudden and unexpected movement by the player receiving the check turns a legal hit into an illegal one.
“Sundqvist has time to react to Grzelcyk’s movement and reacts by cutting back across Grzelcyk’s body. This movement results in a more forceful and direct hit to Grzelcyk’s upper back and head, which then drives Grzelcyk’s head into the glass.”
–Field Level Media