The Department of Player Safety has handed out another punishment, this time to Toronto Maple Leafs forward Alexander Kerfoot. Kerfoot has been suspended two games for boarding Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson on Saturday night. As the accompanying video explains:
It is important to note that Kerfoot is entirely in control of this play. From the moment he hits the hashmarks, Kerfoot sees nothing but Johnson’s numbers. This is not a case of a player turning his back immediately prior to contact in a way that turns a legal hit into an illegal one. Further, while the shove itself was not delivered with exceptional force, it was also not a case where a player puts his hands on the back to guide, direct or engage the puck carrier.
Kerfoot, for what it is worth, immediately expressed regret for the play, telling reporters including Kristen Shilton of TSN that he is “disappointed” in himself. The 25-year old of course played with Johnson for the first two seasons of his NHL career before an offseason trade brought him to Toronto. He has also never been fined or suspended in that short career, helping to keep the punishment to a manageable number.
The Maple Leafs are still without Mitch Marner and Trevor Moore up front, but do still have some options with Dmytro Timashov and Nic Petan for their games this week. Kerfoot, who was just coming off an injury of his own, will be eligible to return on Saturday night against the Buffalo Sabres.