That’s the suspension Harry Zolnierczyk will have to endure for his reckless hit on Ottawa defenseman Mike Lundin during Saturday’s 2-1 Flyers win over the Senators.
The suspension will be a first for Zolnierczyk.
He escaped disciplinary action last week when the league rescinded a five-minute major for a kneeing incident in the Washington game against Mathieu Perreault.
This time, the 25-year-old Flyers winger wasn’t so fortunate.
Zolnierczyk launced himself and his shoulder into Lundin in the first period, striking him in the head. Lundin had to be helped to bench and was concussed.
Zolnierczyk, who earns $600,000 this season, will forfeit $12,972.96. All the money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.
The league’s Lord of Discipline, Brendan Shanahan explained his decision -- which was correct -- this way:
“As Lundin enters the offensive zone, he cuts to the middle and dishes the puck to his wing,” Shanahan says. “Zolnierczyk, who has Lundin lined up, moves in for the hit.
“However, instead of delivering a hard, legal check, he launches prior to the check making significant contact to Lundin’s head. This is charging.”
Even though Lundin had his head down, that doesn’t excuse the hit to the head.
Shanahan added, “Players still have the responsibility to keep their head up and expect to be checked, but what no player should expect is that an opponent will launch upward, off the ice and into his head.”
The line of Ruslan Fedotenko centering Harry Z and Zac Rinaldo will likely see Mike Knuble reinserted to fill Zolnierczyk's void.
Knuble has been a healthy scratch for two games since Simon Gagne arrived via trade from Los Angeles.
The timing here is poor. The Flyers meet the Rangers, Penguins and Bruins this week -- three teams that play an up-tempo style -- while the Flyers are losing one of their fastest players, regardless of the fact that he plays on the fourth line.
Take a look at the video and NHL explanation here.
- Image 030313-zolnierczyk-slideshow-uspw.jpg must be uploaded to the network.
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