Max Domi to have hearing for sucker punching Panthers’ Ekblad

Evgenii Dadonov and Jared McCann both scored a pair of goals as the Panthers handled the Canadiens for a 5-2 victory.

Max Domi certainly made an impact in his pre-season debut with the Montreal Canadiens, but it might earn him a suspension from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.

Domi was assessed match penalty after sucker punching Florida Panthers star defenceman Aaron Ekblad in the third period of Wednesday’s exhibition game.

The young forward, who was acquired in a summer swap with the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk, challenged Ekblad to a fight of which the 2014 first-overall pick wanted no part. Domi gave Ekblad a couple light shots to the face with his left glove before shaking off his right glove and dropping Ekblad with a bare-knuckle shot.

The league announced a couple hours after the game that Domi will in fact have a hearing on Thursday to review the incident and determine whether or not supplemental discipline is warranted.

Ekblad, who has a history of concussions, was bloodied and did not return to the game. The 22-year-old was put into concussion protocol after the punch but Panthers head coach Bob Boughner told reporters following the game that the young blueliner did not suffer another concussion or any other serious injuries.

Suffice it to say the Panthers were not happy with Domi’s actions, including veteran netminder Roberto Luongo.

“It was a little bit of a gutless play,” Luongo said. “You don’t do those types of things. I’m sure the league will look at it and we definitely won’t forget about it.”

The Canadiens and Panthers don’t meet again until Dec. 28.

“You respect your opponents and if your opponent doesn’t want to engage in a fight there’s no reason to drop your glove and punch him square in the face for no reason,” Luongo added.

The Panthers won the game 5-2 and now we wait to see if Domi will be suspended.

Rule 21 of the official NHL Rulebook, which covers match penalties, states: “A match penalty involves the suspension of a player for the balance of the game and the offender shall be ordered to the dressing room immediately. A match penalty shall be imposed on any player who deliberately attempts to injure or who deliberately injures an opponent in any manner.”

Rule 46.15, which specifically addresses match penalties in fights, adds: “A match penalty shall be assessed to a player who punches an unsuspecting opponent and causes an injury.”

This is not the first time Domi has been punished for instigating an altercation on the ice. He was suspended one game in March of 2016 for an incident in a game against the Anaheim Ducks.

It’s also not the first time a Canadiens player has received a match penalty in their Montreal debut. Andrew Shaw was ejected from a pre-season game for boarding in his Canadiens debut in 2016.

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