Everyone is talking about San Jose Sharks forward Joachim Blichfeld’s season debut, but it’s not good news for the 22-year-old.
About halfway through the third period of last night’s 4-0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche, Blichfeld was heading back to the bench and laid a hit on Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon. Though Blichfeld may have intended for shoulder-to-shoulder contact, the hit instead saw primary contact between Blichfeld’s shoulder and MacKinnon’s head.
MacKinnon left the game to enter concussion protocol. Blichfeld was assessed a match penalty and the Avalanche had a five-minute power play.
After a hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety earlier today, Blichfeld has been suspended for two games without pay for the illegal check to the head. Based on his salary, he will forfeit $12,701.14, which will be entered into the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Cited in the NHL’s decision is that the contact to the head was avoidable on Blichfeld’s part due to his angle of approach, and despite MacKinnon’s shoulder and body absorbing some of the hit, the primary point of contact was shoulder to head. Blichfeld has no previous history of suspension in his four NHL games so far.
Here’s the explantation from the Department of Player Safety and a review of the hit:
Blichfeld will miss the next two games, which will see that Sharks take on the Vegas Golden Knights at SAP Center, back-to-back on Friday and Saturday. He’s eligible to return on Monday, March 8, when the Sharks will host the St. Louis Blues.