By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Oskar Sundqvist’s boarding of Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk in the first period of Game 2 will cost him, as the NHL Department of Player Safety has hit the St. Louis center with a one-game suspension following a Thursday hearing.
The hit, which earned Sundqivst a two-minute minor the Bruins did not capitalize on in a 3-2 overtime defeat, ended Grzelcyk’s night after just 4:29 of action, and forced the Bruins to skate with five defensemen for the next 45 minutes of play.
“I don’t think that’s a hit we want in our game,” Bruins winger David Backes said. “I think it’s from behind, elevated in to his head into the glass. If that’s a two-minute penalty, there’s going to be a shortage of defensemen in this series by the end of it.”
“He got hit from behind,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “That’s what was called. His head got driven into the glass.”
Sundqvist, meanwhile, opted not to say anything to reporters when asked about the hit after the victory.
Sundqvist’s suspension continues a clear trend this postseason of players earning suspensions following hearings with the league’s disciplinarians; Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov had a hearing for boarding Markus Nutivaara and was given a one-game suspension. Leafs center Nazem Kadri had an in-person hearing for his cross-check to the B’s Jake DeBrusk and was suspended for the remainder of the first round. San Jose’s Joe Thornton had a hearing and was given a one-game ban for his illegal hit to the head of Tomas Nosek in round one, and the Bruins’ Charlie McAvoy was handed a one-game ban for his check to the head of Columbus winger Josh Anderson after his hearing with the NHL’s DoPS.
This is the first suspension of Sundqvist’s career.
It will be interesting to see how this suspension impacts Blues head coach Craig Berube’s Game 3 lineup, as the interim Blues coach said on Thursday that he planned on putting the Sundqvist line against the Patrice Bergeron line.
The 5-foot-9 Grzelcyk, meanwhile, was released from the hospital but remains in the league’s concussion protocol and did not travel to St. Louis with his teammates on Thursday. It’s believed that John Moore, who has suited up for five postseason contests this spring, will move into the lineup in his place should Grzelcyk miss time.
Game 3 is Saturday night in St. Louis.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has also been a voting member of the Boston Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.