Montreal’s Max Domi has been suspended for the remainder of the preseason – five games – by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for punching Florida’s Aaron Ekblad. The two players were shoving along the Florida goal line early in the third period of Wednesday night’s game, with Domi offering some gloved jabs. He then dropped his stick and right glove and landed a punch on Ekblad’s face, dropping him to the ice.
Referee Marc Joannette issued a minor penalty for roughing, and a major and match penalty for punching an unsuspecting opponent.
Per Rule 46.15:
A match penalty shall be assessed to a player who punches an unsuspecting opponent and causes an injury.
Ekblad was clearly injured on the play. He left the ice and headed to the locker room, his jersey bloodied. He did not return to the game, but avoided a concussion or broken nose on the play.
Domi’s father, Tie who racked up over 3500 penalty minutes over the course of his 17-year NHL career, was in attendance.
“I’m sure the league will look at it and we won’t forget about it,” said Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo. “We’re not going to get pushed around.”
Domi has been suspended once before, a one-game ban for instigating a fight late in a game against the Ducks in 2016.
As the suspension takes place in the preseason, during which time players are not paid, Domi will not forfeit any salary as a result of the ban. He will be eligible to return to the Canadiens’ lineup for their season opener Wednesday, October 3 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
From the Department of Player Safety:
The Department of Player Safety has issued a range of penalties for punching an unsuspecting opponent, including a fine and a lengthy suspension. Arizona Coyotes forward Zac Rinaldo was suspended six games last season for sucker-punching Avs’ defenseman Samuel Girard, though he had an extensive rap sheet prior to the ban. In 2016-17, another Coyotes forward, Peter Holland, was fined $3,611, the maximum allowed based on his salary, for punching Tampa’s Ondrej Palat.