Ottawa Senators defenceman Eric Gryba has been suspended two games by the National Hockey League for his hit on Montreal Canadiens forward Lars Eller.
The hit occurred midway through the second period of the Sens’ 4-2 win in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series Thursday night.
Eller lost consciousness on the hit and was removed from the ice on a stretcher. He was taken to the hospital where he was treated for facial and dental fractures. The 23-year-old was home resting Friday and will not be in the lineup for Game 2, as the teams meet for a second consecutive night at the Bell Centre in Montreal
There is no word yet on how long the Dane will be out of action.
After the game, Gryba – who was assessed a five-minute major penalty for interference and a game misconduct – wished Eller well and shared his perspective on the play.
“I stepped up to make a hit. I kept my shoulder down. He received the puck by the time I hit him,” Gryba said. “I saw the replay. My elbow was down and there was no intent to hurt him whatsoever and I hope that he’s okay. I’m not out here to hurt anybody and it’s never good to seeing anything like that. I hope he makes a full and speedy recovery.”
Gryba is eligible to return to the Sens lineup in Game 4 of the best-of-seven series, which takes place Tuesday, May 7 at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa.