BUFFALO – The NHL has suspended Erik Cernak two games for his elbow to the face that concussed Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin in Monday’s 5-2 road loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The reeling Sabres haven’t given an update on Dahlin, who left the game with about 2:30 remaining in the second period. They had today off following their 10th loss in 12 games (2-8-2).
With the Sabres on the power play, Cernak, a defenseman, elbowed Dahlin in the left circle after the Swede backhanded a pass.
According a video the NHL Department of Player Safety released tonight explaining the suspension, the Lightning argued in today’s hearing “Dahlin’s glove drove Cernak’s elbow upward and caused the head contact.”
“It is clear to us that Cernak’s elbow is already on a trajectory where head contact is inevitable,” the department said.
Cernak, 22, had never been suspended in his 78-game NHL career. The two-game ban will cost him $7,500, according to the NHL.
The Slovak wasn’t penalized for the hit.
Losing Dahlin, 19, for an extended period would be a huge blow to the Sabres. While the Swede has struggled this season following a superb rookie campaign, he is still a dynamic talent.
The Sabres host the Calgary Flames on Wednesday at KeyBank Center.