BUFFALO – The NHL has suspended Sabres center Johan Larsson two games for cross-checking center Vincent Trocheck in the face late in Thursday’s 4-2 loss to the Florida Panthers.
Larsson will miss two home contests: Saturday’s against the St. Louis Blues and Tuesday’s against the Anaheim Ducks.
NHL Player Safety conducted a hearing with Larsson today and announced the decision late this afternoon.
In a video explaining the suspension, George Parros, the NHL’s senior vice president of player safety, said Larsson argued he wasn’t aiming for Trocheck’s face. Videos of the incident show Larsson’s stick rode up Trocheck’s shoulder.
“Players are responsible for their stick at all times, and when a player attempts to intentionally use his stick to deliver a blow to an opponent, he cannot necessarily be excused of all responsibility when the blow lands in an unintended place,” Parros said.
Larsson, who skated over as Trocheck and Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe jabbed at each other, received a five-minute cross-checking penalty and a 10-minute match penalty at 19:25 of the third period.
An automatic one-game suspension accompanies a match penalty, although the league could’ve rescinded it. The league also noted Larsson had no previous suspensions.
Larsson declined comment through a team spokesman today. Following the game, the Swede said he wasn’t worried about a suspension.
“It’s a heat-of-the moment battle where emotions are running high,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said this afternoon inside KeyBank Center. “It’s unfortunate.”
Larsson will forfeit $15,860.22, money the league will donate to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Johan Larsson cross-checks Trocheck in the face: pic.twitter.com/m1b7mmcAWz
— Cats On The Prowl (@Cats0ntheprowl) February 2, 2018