The Minnesota Wild lost center Mikko Koivu from Thursday’s night’s game.
Now the Calgary Flames have lost defenseman Mark Giordano for the hit that caused Koivu’s injury.
Giordano has been suspended two games by the NHL for a knee-on-knee hit that injured Koivu just over six minutes into the third period of Thursday’s game, an eventual 2-0 Flames win.
As Koivu crossed the blueline into the offensive zone, Giordano missed on a poke check and stuck out his leg, catching the Minnesota center and sending him to the ice. Referee Dan O’Halloran immediately blew his whistle, calling Giordano for tripping on the play.
“We saw it pretty clearly on the video,” said Minnesota head coach Bruce Boudreau. “[Giordano] stuck his leg out pretty good.”
Rules 50, Kneeing, and 57, Tripping, apply to the play. The initial penalty was for tripping, with the league citing kneeing as the reason for the suspension.
Kneeing is the act of a player leading with his knee and in some cases extending his leg outwards to make contact with his opponent.
Tripping: A player shall not place the stick, knee, foot, arm, hand or elbow in such a manner that causes his opponent to trip or fall. A minor penalty shall be imposed on any player who shall place his stick or any portion of his body in such a manner that it shall cause his opponent to trip and fall.
The kneeing rule calls for a minor or major at the referee’s discretion based on severity, with a match penalty issued if there was intent to injure on the play. Tripping can only result in a minor penalty or penalty shot, if it happens when the fouled player is on a breakaway.
Koivu slammed his stick on the boards, got back to his feet, and went after Giordano. The two teams converged, but no further penalties were handed out.
The two players exchanged pleasantries as Giordano headed to the penalty box. Koivu jawed at the Flames defenseman who responded simply.
“You wanna go?” offered Giordano. “I’ll go.”
The two players wouldn’t have that opportunity. Koivu left the ice and did not return. There was no update on his condition after the game.
Tempers did flare later in the game, as Calgary’s Ryan Lomberg responded to a Matt Dumba hit on Mikael Backlund that the on-ice officials and NHL Player Safety deemed as a clean hit. Lomberg’s response cost him a one-game suspension and a $10,000 fine for his coach. Player Safety is also meeting with Lomberg on possible additional disciplinary measures.
Giordano has never been suspended by the NHL. He was given a match penalty for an illegal check to the head of Carolina’s Sebastian Aho back in January but avoided further disciplinary action.