The NHL Department of Player Safety spoke with Evgeni Malkin today and decided that the Penguins forward will be suspended one game for his actions in Monday night’s victory against the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1
Here is the official tweet from the NHL Department of Player Safety:
Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin has been suspended for one game for High-sticking Philadelphia’s Michael Raffl. https://t.co/ECTGHHVwIC
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) February 12, 2019
Malkin received a five-minute major, and a game misconduct after swinging his stick at Philadelphia forward Michael Raffl. The incident started with both forwards engaging each other in front of the Philadelphia bench. Raffl appeared to punch Malkin in the back of his head and tried to skate off. Malkin in retaliation swung his stick at Raffl. The stick did not make contact with Raffl’s head but grazed off his shoulder and nicked his helmet. Despite this, the intent was enough for the referees to end Malkin’s night early. Raffl laid on the ice clutching head which perhaps added another wrinkle to the decision to penalize Malkin.
Malkin was vocal after the game in his defense of being provoked but did not defend his actions.
“We had a battle. I think he played dirty. He smacked me behind my head,” said Malkin. “I didn’t try to hit his face and I know I wasn’t playing smart.”
Even Penguins Head Coach Mike Sullivan sounded off on the incident in his post-game comments. Sullivan seemed puzzled why Malkin received a game misconduct.
“On Geno’s part, it was reactionary. He was getting punched in the back of the head. It was a battle between the two of them, and I think it was reactionary,” said Sullivan. “I was a little surprised it was a match penalty because the player didn’t get hurt on it and there wasn’t real significant contact.”
NHL fans took to social media today to voice their displeasure or approval of the decision:
The NHL DOPS is a complete joke. They say it doesn’t have to make contact for it to be disciplined but if it had and caused damage he’d be suspended for 6-10 games. So which is it? You literally says he purposefully swings his stick in retaliation, but one game? Joke.
— Colin Beswick (@CBeswick) February 12, 2019
This is garbage. It took Tom Wilson leaping into and breaking the face of ZAR to get 3 games. Brandon Dubinsky used to cross check Sid in the head 5 times a year. Typical laughable @NHLPlayerSafety
— Robert Fisher (@cuzzinfish) February 12, 2019
Malkin is DIRTY. There’s been so many times he should have been suspended but his high profile name keeps that from happening. Glad he finally got what he deserves
— Mason Sheppard (@masondsheppard) February 12, 2019
Gets punched in the back of the head. Raffl get anything? No? Typical NHL. Yes, it was a stupid thing to do, but he WAS provoked.
— Robb Hindle (@HindleRobb) February 12, 2019
It’s honestly laughable how terrible the nhl can be sometimes. RAFFL DOVE. GE WAS LEGITIMATELY LAUGHING WHEN HE GOT TO THE BENCH
— ReedBoi (@ACME_player) February 12, 2019
He sure is. He's gotten away completely with much worse than what he did last night. Raffl is fortunate he didn't catch him in they eye. I would like to have seen 3 games simply for intent
— franko65 (@Raiderfrank65) February 12, 2019
That was a vicious, intentional attempt to injure. Sheer luck that Malkin missed his target. Raffi hitting Malkin in the back of the head deserved one game, Malkin deserved AT LEAST three, probably five!
— Joe Dolan (@docjoe2000) February 12, 2019