Boston defenseman Charlie McAvoy has been suspended four games after he was kicked out of Monday night’s game against the Panthers for his blatant hit to Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
The suspension comes with a price: McAvoy will forfeit close to $198,000 with the money going to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
McAvoy, who earlier had a high hit on Carter Verhaeghe, was assessed a 5-minute match penalty and thrown out of the game — one he had tied up at 2 minutes before.
That goal helped Boston force overtime where the Bruins eventually won 3-2 on a goal from Pavel Dacha with 1:24 remaining.
Although the Panthers did not go after McAvoy in their postgame media sessions, Matthew Tkachuk tried to engage him after the hit.
The play happened as Boston was putting the pressure on the Florida defense.
As Ekman-Larsson stood his position in front of the net, McAvoy skated through the slot and threw his shoulder at the Florida defenseman.
A penalty was quickly called and the 5-minute match penalty was assessed, then held up through video review.
Ekman-Larsson was speaking as he stood near the Florida bench before being pulled, one has to assume, by the NHL concussion spotter.
He did not return to the game.
When asked about the hit, Florida coach Paul Maurice did not say much about it — aside from comparing it to the first-period hit McAvoy put on Verhaeghe.
Florida captain Sasha Barkov tried dancing around the subject saying he only briefly saw it — but did use the word ‘dirty.’
“I really haven’t seen it that well, saw it quickly on the (scoreboard),” Barkov said. “Obviously the refs made the call and if it was 5 minutes, it’s 5 minutes so it was dirty. I don’t know. I didn’t really see it, so I can’t comment on it.”
McAvoy had a meeting with the NHL Department of Player Safety on Tuesday and will not play in Boston’s next four games.
“I saw it live. I haven’t looked at it in depth,” Boston coach Jim Montgomery said according to the Boston Globe.
“The league reviews all those hits and they’ll let us know what their thoughts are, and we respect how the league goes about it. I think they do a real good process there.”
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS @ DETROIT RED WINGS
- When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
- Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit
- Streaming/TV: Bally Sports Florida/ESPN+
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL/Panthers App
- Last season: Florida won 3-0
- This season: @Detroit Thursday, March 2; @Florida Jan. 17, March 30
- All-time regular season series: Florida leads 36-19-6, 5 ties
- Up Next for the Panthers: Saturday @ Chicago, 8 p.m.