The Department of Player Safety has suspended Panthers defenceman Michael Matheson for two games for his illegal play on Elias Petterson. Ultimately, the DoPS suspended Matheson for the choke-slam, claiming “this is not a hockey play.”
Florida’s Mike Matheson suspended two games for interference/unsportsmanlike conduct on Vancouver’s Elias Pettersson. https://t.co/Dw2BZfVIvL
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) October 15, 2018
“What causes this incident to rise to the level of supplemental discipline, is that it encompasses two separate and distinct acts,” the DoPS says. “First, Matheson pins Pettersson to the boards in a legal and effective defensive maneuver. Then with the puck long separated from the area, and Pettersson unable to defend himself, Matheson drives him directly downward and into the ice with force, causing an injury.”
Many Canucks fans figured Matheson should get a longer suspension given the fact Pettersson was injured on the play. But the fact Matheson was a first-time offender, the DoPS didn’t throw the book at him.
Another interesting note was how much emphasis the video put on Pettersson burning Matheson earlier in the shift with a move. Pettersson dekes out Matheson and the defender falls over before, later in the shift, making the check and performing the slam. The fact Matheson was burned seemingly factored into the decision as it’s very clear Matheson was out for revenge for that play.