In case you missed it, Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Evgeni Malkin was ejected from Monday night’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers after he viciously swung his stick at the head of Flyers forward Michael Raffl.
Thankfully, Malkin did not make contact with Raffl, at least not solidly, but just because of the sheer recklessness of the play and because Malkin’s intent was clearly to injure, he was handed a 10 minute misconduct and ejected from the game. NHL Player Safety subsequently suspended Malkin for one game, last night’s victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
Here’s the play in question:
Here it is slowed down and from a different angle:
After the game Malkin didn’t seem to shy away from the fact that what he did was dirty, but he defended his actions saying no one was hurt.
“I’m not trying to hit his face. … I know it's dirty, but I missed,” Malkin said. “He just like dived and the referee give me five minutes. [He wasn’t] injured, not bleeding, nothing.”
Suffice it to say, that explanation did NOT go over well with Flyers fans and earlier today Flyers head coach Scott Gordon went on a tirade when someone called the play a “high stick”.
Check it out:
You know what? Good on Gordon for sticking up for his players this way. Had Malkin connected with Raffl’s head on this play there’s no doubt he’d be looking at a HISTORICALLY long suspension. As it is, he and Raffl are both lucky that he didn’t connect but, like Gordon says, that doesn’t mean he’s absent of blame. Malkin has served his time, expect him to take his game to the next level in the stretch drive.