PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — Montreal’s Max Pacioretty has been suspended for three games for a hit on Kris Letang in Saturday’s 4-3 overtime win by the Penguins.
Pacioretty will reportedly lose about $26,000 in salary.
“As Letang crosses the blue line his head is up and his winger is driving to the net,” NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan said in his video response to the hit. “In spite of the fact he knows that a check is imminent, he still makes the decision to put the puck on the net. When cutting through the middle on a player like this, all players accept and understand the danger and expectation that a full body check may be looming. Letang makes the decision to sacrifice his body and must accept the possibility of taking a hit to make the play.
“However, what no player should expect is that his head should be picked and made the principal point of contact on such a hit.”
Shanahan and the league deemed that shooting the puck did not alter the position of Letang’s head, and thus Pacioretty is responsible for targeting the head. Shanahan said the onus is on Pacioretty to not directly contact Letang’s head given the circumstances.
“If Pacioretty decides to leave his wing and, instead, finish his check on Letang, he must make a full body check and avoid picking Letang’s head. While we agree with Pacioretty’s assertion that Letang’s body position makes it difficult to avoid the hit, it is still his responsibility to make principal contact through the core of Letang’s body.”
Pacioretty wasn’t penalized during Saturday’s game for the hit.
Letang scored the game-winning goal after sustaining the hit in the Pens 4-3 win in overtime.
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