Oilers’ Hendricks faces hearing for ‘clean’ Ekblad hit

The Oilers quickly exacted some revenge against the Florida Panthers for their hit on Taylor Hall by more or less returning the favour with a hard hit on Aaron Ekblad. Gerard Gallant however wasn’t liking any of it.

Edmonton Oilers forward Matt Hendricks will have a phone hearing for boarding Monday to discuss a body check he laid on Aaron Ekblad.

Hendricks delivered a hard hit on the Florida’s star defenceman during the Panthers’ 2-1 victory in Edmonton Sunday (watch above).

Because Hendricks’ hearing will be conducted by telephone, any suspension he receives will be five games or fewer.

“I don’t hit dirty,” Hendricks, who was not penalized on the play, told reporters. “I’ve never been known to hit dirty. I thought it was a clean hit. I’m glad he came back and played. I’d feel bad if he was injured from that.”

Edmonton’s Logan Shaw immediately challenged Hendricks to a fight after the hit, and Hendricks obliged.

“Whether you’re on our side or their side you never want to see a player get hit and go down like that,” Oilers coach Todd McLellan told reporters after the game.

Oilers coach Todd McLellan said he was pleased with his club’s response in a game fraught with physical altercations.

Hendricks’ targeting of Ekblad was seen by many as retaliation for a hit Erik Gudbranson delivered on Oilers star Taylor Hall earlier in the contest. Hall was receiving a pass in the neutral zone and had his head down when Gudbrandson flattened him:

Hendricks denied his check on Ekblad was spurred by revenge.

“No, it wasn’t,” Hendricks said. “That’s what I do. That’s my game. I’ve got to forecheck hard. I don’t want to talk about another player, but he was in a position he could have avoided, in my opinion.”

Hendricks, who assisted on Edmonton’s only goal, was named Second Star of the Game.


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