Colton Sissons won’t be suspended for Olli Maatta head shot

The Nashville Predators avoided a potentially devastating suspension on Friday, when the NHL’s Department of Player Safety lifted the automatic one-game ban on center Colton Sissons.

In Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Thursday night, Sissons and Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta were trading blows with their sticks in the third period. Sissons eventually cracked Maatta on the face with his stick, cutting him. This sparked a brief melee at 19:26 of the third period, with the 6-0 game well in-hand for the Penguins.

Sissons was given a high-sticking major and a match penalty. That carries an automatic suspension with it, pending further review from the League.

The League reviewed it, and on Friday morning indicated there would be no further action taken.

From the Dept. of Player Safety:

“Having completed its automatic review of an incident in Game 5, D.O.P.S. has decided that Colton Sissons will not be suspended for Game 6.”

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Maatta was “fine” in a Friday news conference, which no doubt helped Sissons’s case. But overall, this felt like an unfortunate circumstance during a nasty sequence between players.

Predators coach Peter Laviolette called the play unintentional after Game 5.

“I watched it play out. I saw Maatta cross-check him, Colton cross-checked him back, Maatta cross-checked him again, and they were doing it somewhere in the midsection. On the last one, Maatta seemed to slip and his head dropped,” he said. “I don’t think there was any intention there whatsoever, so – I don’t think so, but that’s not my call.”

The Predators have been shorthanded at center in this series, losing No. 1 center Ryan Johansen in the Western Conference Final. Sissons had done an admirable job after being thrust into a more prominent role – his ice time jumping by about four minutes per game – and it’s hard to imagine the Predators surviving a Game 6 against Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin with yet another center out of the lineup.

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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