The Department of Player Safety has suspended Arizona Coyotes forward Josh Archibald two games for his illegal check to the head of Ryan Hartman. Archibald attempted to check Hartman into the boards and directly made contact with his head, resulting in a two-minute penalty. As the accompanying video explains:
It is important to note that although Hartman is making a play with the puck as Archibald approaches, he does not change the position of his head or body in a way that significantly contributes to the head being the main point of contact on this hit. If Archibald wishes to deliver this hit, he must take an angle of approach that hits through Hartman’s core, rather than picking the head and making it the main point of contact.
Archibald has no prior history with the DoPS, in fact he doesn’t have much of a history with the NHL at all. The 26-year old winger has just 62 games in the league over his career, 39 of those coming last season with the Coyotes. That fact didn’t keep him from punishment, given Hartman’s injury on the play and the clear head contact. He’ll now be watched much more closely by the league for any future incidents, though he certainly doesn’t have a reputation for play like this.
The Coyotes meanwhile will have to insert another player into the lineup, but that might not be the worst thing. Archibald has zero points in nine games and hasn’t shown much offensive ability since he left the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Arizona has much bigger things to deal with as Jason Demers, Jakob Chychrun and Alex Goligoski all find themselves sidelined due to injury.