It’s always great when you can make your mark in your debut game. Unfortunately for defenseman Joshua Karlsson, his mark was an elbow to an opponent’s head that ended his night early.
Karlsson, 6’8″, picked up a match penalty for an illegal check to the head just over five minutes into his first game with BIK Karlskoga during Wednesday night’s game at Fjällräven Center. The initial call during the game was a major penalty, which was upgraded by the league to match penalty after the final whistle resulting in an automatic one-game suspension and a disciplinary hearing.
The height difference between the 6’8″ Karlsson and Modo’s Tom Hedberg, at 5’11”, certainly contributed to the head contact.
“A match penalty is the correct call,” said Modo head coach Björn Hellkvist, adding that he felt no further discipline was required.
No word on whether the league will take further action against the rookie blueliner.
Referee for the game was Christoffer Holm. Linesmen were Fredrik Bäckström and Teodor Sörholm.
UPDATE: Karlsson has been suspended four games for the hit.
From Hockey Allsvenskan, loosely translated:
Modo’s Tom Hedberg drives the puck through center ice and, at the same moment as Tom puts the puck into the attacking zone, Karlskoga’s Joshua Karlsson delivers a hit to Hedberg’s head. Hedberg is in a low position while Karlsson comes from an angle that makes it impossible for Tom to protect himself during the hit. The check is judged to be violent due to both the power of the hit and the dangerous angle of attack.
Joshua Karlsson has stated the following:
I find that Tom Hedberg has time to see how many and which players he has in front of him as he carries the puck from his own defensive zone. On the back-check, I decide to stand him up at the blue line, taking the puck first and then the body. I don’t feel it is a blindside hit, as Tom should have been aware of my presence through the neutral zone. I had no intent to injure Hedberg and am glad he’ll be able to play in the next game.
The Disciplinary Board felt the hit required a suspension, and that the video supported the ruling. The league determined that Karlsson should sit for four games, including the game during which the infraction occurred when he received a match penalty.