New York Islanders forward Ross Johnston was suspended three games for hitting the head of New Jersey Devils forward AJ Greer.
The stunt happened on Thursday night when the two teams met.
Greer retreated to the Devils’ area just over three minutes into the first period, gathering a puck on a bicycle. Johnston, who was on the forecheck on the play, turned and took two steps towards Greer, lowering his left shoulder and arm.
Greer turned to knock the puck out of the defensive zone and Johnston followed with the high kick. As noted by the Department of Player Safety, Greer’s head was the primary point of contact — what the league called an avoidable hit.
« If Johnston is going to land this blow legally, Johnston needs to take an angle that crosses Greer’s shoulder and core, rather than one that makes the head the primary point of contact, » the league said.
Johnston, the player safety department said, had no prior history with the department during his 95-game NHL career. A two-minute minor was issued on the coin.
On Friday, Devils head coach Lindy Ruff said Greer is expected to miss “serious time” due to injury.
Greer played his second game of the season last night, and only his third in a Devils uniform.
Zach Laing is the News Director and Senior Columnist for the Nation Network. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaingor attached by email to [email protected]