The National Hockey League has just handed down a stuff suspension to one of it's most recognizable stars.
According to a breaking news announcement from the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety, San Jose Sharks star defenseman Erik Karlsson has been suspended for 2 games for an illegal blow to the head of Los Angeles Kings rookie Austin Wagner. This marks the first time that Erik Karlsson has been suspended in his career, and in fact it is the first time he has been subject to any form of additional discipline from the National Hockey League.
Although Karlsson has no history as a dirty player in the league there was little question that the hit delivered to Wagner was illegal. You could see immediately based on the body language displayed by Wagner as he got back up to his feet that he had effectively been knocked out. His equilibrium was completely off and his eyes looked vacant as he stumbled like a drunken man back to the Kings bench. Even after resting on the bench for several long moments you could see very clearly that the young rookie was still not all there, and thankfully the Kings quickly sent him to the locker room and he would not return.
The league accepted Karlsson's claims that he was attempting to make a full body check, but points to the fact that Karlsson picked the head as the main point of contact for suspending him for multiple games here. Based on the angles provided by the league in the video below, you can quite clearly determine that indeed the majority of the blow here is absorbed why Wagner's head.
What made this particular play look even uglier on the part of Karlsson was the fact that the hit seemed somewhat motivated by revenge. Earlier during the play Wagner himself had taken a run at Karlsson and I have very little doubt that is why the veteran defenseman attempted to line up the rookie for a big hit. Whether or not he intended to hit him in the head is a question no on but Karlsson can answer, but again he has no history as a dirty player.