St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist has been suspended one game for boarding Boston’s Matt Grzelcyk in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.
The hit, which Player Safety described as “a forceful and more direct hit to the upper back and head,” came with 2:06 remaining in the first period of Wednesday’s game.
Matt Grzelcyk was helped off the ice and did not return.
Sundqvist was given a minor penalty for boarding on the play. From the Department of Player Safety video:
“Sundqvist adjusts his course then hits [Grzelcyk] forcefully from behind with speed, driving him violently into the glass and causing an injury.”
While the league admits that Grzelcyk changed his body position just prior to the hit, they clarified that he did “not do so in a way that absolves Sundqvist of responsibility for the nature of this hit. From the moment Sundqvist hits the bottom of the faceoff circle until contact is made, Sundqvist sees nothing but Grzelcyk’s numbers.
This is the fifth suspension of the 2018-19 Stanley Cup Playoffs and the first of this year’s Stanley Cup Final. Previous bans from this postseason include Tampa’s Kucherov for boarding (1 game), Toronto’s Kadri from cross-checking (5 games), and San Jose’s Joe Thornton and Boston’s Charlie Coyle each with one game for an illegal check to the head.
The last suspension during the Stanley Cup Final came in 2011, when Vancouver’s Aaron Rome was banned four games for a late hit on Boston’s Nathan Horton.