Edmonton Oilers forward Matt Hendricks will be suspended three games for boarding Florida Panthers‘ Aaron Ekblad, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced Monday.
The incident occured at the 2:12 mark of Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Panthers. Hendricks was not penalized for the play. The suspension will see the winger forfeit $29,838.72 in salary.
Sunday’s battle between the Panthers and Oilers got heated, as many regarded Hendrick’s hit on Ekblad as retaliation for an earlier incident that saw Taylor Hall taken out by Erik Gudbranson.
Despite the optics, Hendricks insisted his was not an act of getting even, adding that he thought his hit was clean.
“I don’t hit dirty,” Hendricks 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.”
Ekblad would indeed return to the game, but was later ruled out for Monday’s contest against the Vancouver Canucks with an upper-body injury. Panthers head coach Gerard Gallant did not provide a timetable for the star defenceman’s return.