Arizona Coyotes forward Johan Larsson has been suspended for two games, without pay, for an illegal check to the head of St. Louis Blues forward Zach Sanford.



The hit came 5:11 into the third period of Friday’s game in Arizona.

Larsson was given a minor penalty for an illegal check to the head by referees Kyle Rehman and Justin St. Pierre.

In rendering their decision, Player Safety advised that the head was the main point of contact on the hit, and that such contact was avoidable.

Here’s Rule 18 – Illegal Check to the Head:

[An illegal check to the head is defined as] 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.

48.2 Minor Penalty – For violation of this rule, a minor penalty shall be assessed.

48.5 Match Penalty – The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a match penalty if, in his judgment, the player attempted to or deliberately injured his opponent with an illegal check to the head.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, Larsson forfeits $24,137.94 in salary as a result of the suspension.