When Cody Eakin rocked Henrik Lundqvist thursday night, fans around the hockey world were shocked. Mostly because none of the New-York Rangers stepped up to defend their goaltender as the first consequences to Eakin's hit happened today when the NHL Department of Player Safety ruled him out for 4 games.
"A goalkeeper is not "fair game" just because he is outside the goal crease area. The appropriate penalty should be assessed in every case where an opposing player makes unnecessary contact with a goalkeeper. However, incidental contact, at the discretion of the referee, will be permitted when the goalkeeper is in the act of playing the puck outside his goal crease provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact. The contact Eakin makes with Lundqvist is not incidental. Rather, it is a forceful blow delivered by Eakin's shoulder to Lundqvist. Also, in our opinion, Eakin does not make a reasonable effort to avoid such contact."
The NHL Department of Player Safety also took into account the fact Lundqvist came back to the game and that Eakin has never been suspended nor fined in his career.