Carson Babbini | December 23rd, 2018
After the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks game last night, the NHL Department of Player Safety has just announced that Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson has been suspended for two games for an illegal hit on Kings forward Austin Wagner.
In the Department of Player Safety’s video, the hit is an illegal hit to the head where the head is the primary target of the hit. The video also explains that Karlsson could have avoided the contact to Wagner’s head, and Karlsson could have avoided making the hit entirely if he chose to do so. The video does say that the department does understand that Karlsson may have been trying to make a full body hit, and Karlsson does make contact with Wagner’s shoulder, the most contact is made with Wagner’s hit. Karlsson has only had one incident in the past where he was fined for slashing in 2012 when he was with the Ottawa Senators, which led to him being suspended two games.
For the Sharks, even though this is only for two games, this could have an impact on their spot in the standings in the Pacific Division with their next two games being against division opponents with them playing the Arizona Coyotes later tonight, and the Anaheim Ducks coming up on Thursday. It does help that both of these games will be at home for the Sharks where they have very good this year going 11-4-3 so far this year. And with the Sharks being only three points behind the Calgary Flames for the division lead, these games will be crucial to the Sharks’ quest to gain the lead on the division. Not to mention Karlsson has had a great impact on the Sharks offensively with 26 points in 37 games played, but Karlsson has a career high so far this year in his Corsi percentage with 60 percent. Karlsson’s presence will be missed on both sides of the puck for these next two games for the Sharks.
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