Canadiens’ Max Domi suspended for remainder of pre-season

Watch as Max Domi drops Aaron Ekblad with a couple shots to the face, even though the Panthers star clearly didn’t want to fight.

NEW YORK — Montreal Canadiens forward Max Domi has been suspended for the remainder of the NHL pre-season after punching Florida defenceman Aaron Ekblad during an exhibition game.

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety made the announcement Thursday following an afternoon hearing with Domi.

The punch came at the start of the third period of Wednesday’s pre-season game. Domi began tugging on Ekblad’s shirt, asking him to fight. With the Panthers star showing no interest to drop the gloves, Domi punched him in the face twice, but still Ekblad didn’t respond.

Domi then dropped his right glove and sucker punched him right on the nose, and the bloodied Ekblad dropped to the ice. Domi was given a minor, major and match penalty on the play.

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Ekblad was taken off the ice and underwent the NHL’s concussion protocol, which he passed.

Domi was making his first appearance as a Canadien after coming to Montreal in an off-season trade that sent Alex Galchenyuk to Arizona.

Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher was forgiving of Domi when asked about it after Thursday night’s 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals.

"He’s going to be a big part of our team going forward. He’s an emotional player. We need him to play like that. It’s not going to change a thing."

He will be eligible to return when the Canadiens open the regular season in Toronto on Oct. 3.

The Canadiens were set to continue their pre-season without Domi on Thursday night against Stanley Cup champion Washington in Quebec City.

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