NHL suspends Canucks defenceman Nikita Zadorov two games for hit to head on Lucas Raymond

Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
4 months ago
Vancouver Canucks defenceman Nikita Zadorov has been suspended for two games for an illegal check to the head of Detroit Red Wings forward Lucas Raymond, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced on Saturday evening.
That means the big Russian defenceman will miss the remaining two games on the Canucks five game road trip in Washington on Sunday and in Chicago on Tuesday. He will be eligible to return to the line-up for a Thursday rematch with the Wings at Rogers Arena.
Zadorov had Raymond lined up in the neutral zone but was a split second late with his check and rather than making contact with the Detroit forward’s body instead clipped his head. He was assessed a match penalty on the play and was ejected from the game 4:11 into the second period with the game tied 1-1. The Canucks managed to kill off the five major to Zadorov and an ensuing high-sticking minor to Filip Hronek.
With Zadorov banished for the next two games, the Canucks will turn to Mark Friedman who has not played an NHL game since November 30th the day Zadorov was acquired from Calgary. Friedman did get into six American League games in Abbotsford on a conditioning stint last month. But has been an extra body at the big league level for more than two months. That will change on Sunday in Washington.
That will leave the Canucks with just two left-handed defencemen for the remainder of the road trip: Quinn Hughes and Ian Cole. One of the righties will have to slide over to play his off side. Friedman has done that in the past, but it may be a big ask for a player trying to find his game at the NHL level after a lengthy layoff.
The suspension will cost Zadorov $39,062.50 in forfeited salary. The money goes to the NHL Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

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