Columbus Blue Jackets forward Dalton Proust may find himself with a few extra days off after punching an unsuspecting Nikita Kucherov in Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The two teams came together midway through the second period when Blue Jackets winger Mike Foligno knocked down Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop behind the net. Tampa’s Andrej Sustr and Kucherov went after Foligno. Prout joined the fracas, skating in and hitting Kucherov with a solid right.
Foligno was called for tripping on the original play. Kucherov and Prout went off with matching minors for rouging, with Prout picking up an additional misconduct.
Kucherov played one more shift before leaving the game.
“That’s a tough play,” said Tampa head coach John Cooper. “It’s out of my hands. I’m sure if there’s something wrong with it, the league will look at it.”
— Bill Short (@LakesideFurCat) March 13, 2016
The NHL rulebook calls for a match penalty under Rule 46.15 for “a player who punches an unsuspecting opponent and causes an injury.” The NHL’s Department of Player Safety may be considering additional discipline.
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) March 13, 2016
After seeing that punch again, Dalton Prout should get a call from @NHLPlayerSafety. Seen players get suspended for punches like that.
— Mike Corcoran (@MikeCorcoranNHL) March 13, 2016
The Blue Jackets’ next game is Thursday against the Red Wings. We’ll wait for official word from the league on whether or not Prout may be in the lineup.
UPDATE: Prout will have a phone hearing on Wednesday with the Department of Player Safety.