By Nick Stoico
Due to a dangerous boarding penalty inflicted on Dallas Stars defensemen Brenden Dillon, Vancouver Canucks forward Zack Kassian has been suspended for three games, without pay, by the NHL Department of Player Safety.
Kassian will miss home games against the Calgary Flames and the New York Islanders, as well as the first of a four-game road trip for Vancouver. Kassian will be eligible to return Friday, March 14 when the Canucks travel to Washington to face the Capitals.
Kassian’s hit on Dillon occurred at 18:30 of the first period and Kassian was tagged with a game misconduct penalty as a result.
Dillon suffered no injury and returned to the game, which is surprising after watching the brutal play, but is probably the reason why the suspension is only for three games.
Kassian delivered the hit just after Dillon gained the red line and dumped the puck into the zone. Dillon turned toward the bench to make a line change, leaving plenty of time for Kassian to stare at the back of Dillon’s jersey. Kassian appeared to make no attempt whatsoever to slow down, and threw the hit straight into Dillon’s back, sending him headfirst into the sideboards.
This is nothing new for Kassian. The 23-year-old right winger was suspended for eight games back in the preseason for a high-sticking penalty, which resulted in a broken jaw for the Oilers’ Sam Ganger. The suspension included Vancouver’s first five games of the regular season.
Kassian is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the CBA. According to NHL.com, based on Kassian’s annual salary, he will lose $32,103.66, which in turn will be put towards the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.