Stanley Cup playoffs: NHL suspends Blue Jackets' Matt Calvert one game for brutal cross-check

Sporting News

Facing outside pressure to come down hard on Matt Calvert, the NHL suspended the Blue Jackets forward one game for his brutal cross-check of the Penguins'Tom Kuhnhackl late in Friday's Game 2 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoffs series.

The NHL'sDepartment of Player Safety announced the punishment Saturday following a hearing with Calvert, a moderate reversal in course from earlier reports suggesting the infraction may only draw a fine from the league. Calvert instead will sit out Sunday's Game 3.

The play occurred in the waningminute of the Penguins' 4-1victory.

Calvert crossed-checked Kuhnhackl in his upper back and shoulderarea,snapping his stick on impact. He then pushed a vulnerableKuhnhacklto the ice with a secondary body check. Calvert was assessed a two-minute minor for cross-checking, butthe NHL said it deemed the play to be "message-sending" with the game's outcome in hand,thus warranting further punishment.

"This is not a hockey play in a sense it has nothing to do with the pursuit of the puck or establishing body position," the DOPS explained in its video.

But Calvert's clean suspension recordfacored into the length of the ban, though some observers felt a more severe multi-game punishment was neccessary.

MORE: Stanley Cup playoffs: Likely suspension coming for Blue Jackets' Matt Calvert

Kuhnhackl, who was visibly shaken up on the play, practiced with the Penguins Saturday morning and downplayed the situation afterward. He's expected to play in Game 3.

"Obviously a lot of emotions out there," he told reporters, via "Whatever happened, happened. It was in Game 2. It's another day and we're going to get focused for Game 3."

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