The decision was prompt by the Department of Player Safety and Edmonton Oilers forward Jujhar Khaira will now take a seat. Player Safety announced a hearing with Khaira this afternoon and apparently already had time to meet with the winger and make their decision already. The department has now announced a two-game suspension for Khaira for cross checking, stemming from an incident with St. Louis Blues defenseman Vince Dunn last night.
In the third period of Tuesday night’s contest, Dunn and Khaira went back and forth in front of the St. Louis net following a hard, but legal check by Khaira in the corner. Dunn made first contact, appearing to cross check Khaira in the shoulder. For his part, Player Safety already issued Dunn a maximum $1,942.20 fine for cross checking. However, in response, Khaira hit Dunn with a much harder cross check aimed at the head and neck area. In their descriptive video, Player Safety ruled the following:
While Dunn is the first player to deliver a cross check on this play, his cross check does not land as forcefully or directly as the one delivered by Khaira… Illegal actions by one player do not mean that their opponent can retaliate however they see fit. On this play, while Khaira is justifiably angered by Dunn’s illegal and unnecessary response to a legal hit, raising his arms to head level and delivering a sharp, forceful blow to his opponent’s head with his stick is not excusable.
This is Khaira’s first incidence of supplemental discipline, somewhat impressively given his hallmark physical style. However, the optics on this cross check did not work in his favor, as the shot to Dunn was far worse than the one he received himself. A two-game suspension is well within the realm of a reasonable response by player safety. Khaira will now miss the next two match-ups for the Oilers, as they continue their home stand against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday and the Vancouver Canucks next Thursday. Khaira is seventh in scoring for Edmonton, fifth among forwards, and his production will be missed in addition to his checking game while he sits for a week.