The NHL suspended Blackhawks winger Joakim Nordstrom for two games on Friday for boarding Arizona’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the final minute of Thursday night’s game in Glendale, Arizona.
With the Coyotes down one goal and pressing for an equalizer, Nordstrom lost a race with Ekman-Larsson to a puck in the corner, then swept at the puck with his stick, failing to gain control of it. He then used two hands to hit Ekman-Larsson in the back, sending him face-first into the boards. Ekman-Larsson was slow to get up, and Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said he was “day to day.”
“Ekman-Larsson makes no sudden or unpredictable movements to make himself vulnerable,” the NHL’s department of player safety explained in a video detailing the incident and the ruling. “The onus therefore is on Nordstrom to avoid this check completely, or at the very least, to minimize any body contact. Instead, Nordstrom engages his right hand and uses both to shove the defenseless Ekman-Larsson dangerously into the boards.”
Nordstrom was not made available to comment following Friday’s practice at Sharks Ice in San Jose, as his hearing with the league was still pending. It was his first offense.
“I don’t want to comment on it,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “I hope the guy’s all right.”
Quenneville had been planning to stick with the same lineup Sunday against the Sharks that he used Friday against the Coyotes. With Nordstorm out, he can turn to either Daniel Carcillo or ex-Sharks forward Andrew Desjardins to play on the fourth line alongside Marcus Kruger and Andrew Shaw.