Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev was suspended two games for an illegal check to the head he delivered to Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner during Thursday night's game.
While Marner was chasing after a loose puck and being hooked by Lightning blueliner Victor Hedman, Sergachev swooped in and threw a high hit on the Leafs star, who was defenseless at the point of contact.
Marner drew two penalties on the same play, as Hedman was booked two minutes for hooking and Sergachev received a two-minute penalty for an illegal check to the head.
After the game ended, team captain John Tavares was pretty blunt when discussing his opinion of the hit.
"I thought Mitchy [Marner] was pretty exposed, no chance to really protect himself or see it coming," Tavares told reporters. "Just didn’t like it at all — hit him right in the head."
When asked if he thought Sergachev deserved a suspension, Tavares didn't say yes, but he didn't say no, either.
"We want that stuff out of our game," Tavares said. "It certainly should be at least talked about."
Marner was also asked for his take on the hit, adding that Sergachev apologized for his actions.
"I haven’t seen it, to be honest," Marner noted. "I just know he came across and caught me up high a little bit.
"He apologized later but it’s something that you don’t want happening in games, don’t want happening to players. But it does happen still. Hopefully it gets out of the game. It’s a fast-paced game out there."
Up until Sergachev's punishment, no NHL player had been suspended this regular season for delivering an illegal check to the head.
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