Montreal Canadiens defenseman Douglas Murray has been suspended three games for an illegal check to the head of Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Michael Kostka, the NHL announced Thursday.
Murray delivered a vicious elbow to Kostka’s chin during the third period of Tuesday night’s game, knocking the Tampa Bay blueliner out of the game. Kosta remained down on the ice for several moments, and although a stretcher was brought out, he was able to skate off under his own power.
“Murray rises up and delivers a forceful blow to Kostka’s head, making it the main point of contact and causing a serious injury,” the league’s Department of Player Safety explained. “While we accept Murray’s claim that there was no malicious intent on this hit, he is not successful in making a full body check.”
The suspension is the first in Murray’s 10-year NHL career.
Here the NHL’s rationale behind the decision in the video below.