The Department of Player Safety announced that they have suspended San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson two games for an illegal check to the head Saturday against Los Angeles Kings forward Austin Wagner. Karlsson is expected to miss two Pacific Division contests, including tonight’s game against Arizona and then a Dec. 27 game against the Anaheim Ducks. Karlsson will be eligible to return on Dec. 29 in Edmonton.
It’s a blow for San Jose, who have seen an uptick in production from their big offseason acquisition. Karlsson has scored 11 points over the past 10 games (all assists). The incident occurred 2:33 into the second period when Karlsson checked Wagner in the neutral zone with his shoulder that appeared to hit Wagner’s head. Karlsson admitted Saturday that it was an accident.
“It’s one of those plays, I’m closing (the) gap, and he skates into me,” he said. “I don’t really even lean into him. I’m in his lane, and just shoulder-to-shoulder hit. Unfortunately he went down hard and he didn’t come back, and I hope he’s OK, but at the end of the day it’s a hockey play.”
Karlsson has never been suspended in his career and was fined just once for a slash in 2012. Under terms of the collective bargaining agreement and based on his annual average salary, Karlsson will forfeit $69,892.48, which will go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.