Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler will have a hearing with NHL Player Safety for kneeing Toronto’s Zach Hyman.
The hit came with 9:44 remaining in the second period of Monday night’s game in Vancouver. Edler was given a major penalty for kneeing along with a mandatory game misconduct by referees Graham Skilliter and Eric Furlatt. Hyman was injured on the play and did not return to the game.
“He’s a huge player for our team but hopefully he’ll be fine,” said Toronto’s William Nylander. “It was a pretty dirty hit, so we’ll see tomorrow [if Player Safety takes action].”
From the NHL rule book:
50.1 Kneeing – 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.
50.2 Minor Penalty – The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a minor penalty, based on the severity of the infraction, to a player guilty of kneeing an opponent.
50.3 Major Penalty – The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a major penalty, based on the severity of the infraction, to a player guilty of kneeing an opponent. When a player has been assessed a major penalty for kneeing he shall also be assessed a Game Misconduct.
50.4 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 by kneeing.
Edler accounted for 17 of the 21 penalty minutes handed out in the match; remaining calls were one per side.
Monday’s 3-2 Vancouver win was the Canucks’ first game since March 24.
Edler has been suspended twice before by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. He sat for two games in May of 2013 for charging goaltender Mike Smith. Edler was suspended again just five months later, banned for three games for an illegal check to the head of San Jose’s Tomas Hertl. While he’s not a ‘repeat offender’ – which only impacts lost salary calculations – Edler’s complete disciplinary history will be considered by Player Safety in determining the length of a suspension.
The IIHF also suspended Edler for kneeing Canada’s Eric Staal during the 2013 World Championship; the ban kept him out for two games of the World Championship and Team Sweden’s first two games of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.