San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson will have a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety for an illegal check to the head of Los Angeles Kings forward Austin Wagner.
The hit came just 2: 33 into the second period of Saturday’s game in San Jose. Wagner was coming out of the defensive zone, having just accepted a pass from blueliner Matt Luff. Karlsson, skating parallel to the blueline, caught Wagner from the side.
Wagner was able to leave the ice under his own power, but had to be helped off the ice.
No penalty was called on the play by referees Chris Rooney and Justin St. Pierre, who were light on the whistles in Saturday’s match. Only two penalties were called – one on each team.
In determining a suspension, the league will consider Rule 48:
A hit resulting in contact with an opponent’s head where the head was the main point of contact and such contact to the head was avoidable is not permitted.
In determining whether contact with an opponent’s head was avoidable, the circumstances of the hit including the following shall be considered:
(i) Whether the player attempted to hit squarely through the opponent’s body and the head was not “picked” as a result of poor timing, poor angle of approach, or unnecessary extension of the body upward or outward.
(ii) Whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position by assuming a posture that made head contact on an otherwise full body check unavoidable.
(iii) Whether the opponent materially changed the position of his body or head immediately prior to or simultaneously with the hit in a way that significantly contributed to the head contact.
Expect a quick ruling, since the Sharks take the ice at 8:00pm EST on Sunday.