Chicago Blackhawks forward Brett Connolly on Sunday was suspended by the NHL for a brutal hit on Dallas Stars forward Tanner Kero.
Connolly, who spent parts of two seasons with the Boston Bruins (2014-2016) will miss four games for the incident, which occurred early in the first period of Saturday’s game. Kero was taken off the ice on a stretcher following the hit, for which Connolly was tabbed with a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct.
The league’s Department of Player Safety released a video explaining the suspension decision. Here’s part of the explanation, which you can view in full here:
“Connolly delivers a high, forceful hit on Kero that makes substantial head contact, knocking him to the ice and causing an injury. This is interference. It is important to note that Kero was never in possession of the puck on this play and therefore is not eligible to be checked in any manner.
“We have heard Connolly’s assertion that this is more of a collision than an intentional body check. While we do agree that Connolly does not initiate this contact with the full force of a hard body check, this is not a mere collision between two players who are unaware of the impending contact.”
Matthew DeFranks of The Dallas Morning News reported Kero was discharged from the hospital and returned to his home Saturday night.