The NHL Department of Player Safety announced on social media today that Los Angeles Kings forward Arthur Kaliyev has been suspended for two preseason games and two regular-season games.
This suspension comes after news broke yesterday that Kaliyev would have a disciplinary hearing for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Chase De Leo. While an in-person hearing is not confirmation of any suspension to come, it is typically an indication that a player’s action warrants consideration for serious disciplinary action.
That’s exactly what’s come for Kaliyev, who will now have to sit out the Kings’ first two regular-season games assuming he makes their opening-night roster. Kaliyev’s kneeing on De Leo resulted in just a minor penalty at the time for Kaliyev, but knocked De Leo out of the game.
The play in question began when Kaliyev found himself on the wrong end of a hard check from Ducks defenseman Radko Gudas. Kaliyev popped up from the hit, accelerated, and attempted to lay a major check in response to De Leo, who was carrying the puck out of the Ducks’ zone. De Leo attempted to avoid Kaliyev’s check, and in response to De Leo’s evasive action Kaliyev extended his knee forward in order to ensure contact with De Leo would be made. The result was hard knee-on-knee contact.
The Department of Player Safety specifically noted Kaliyev’s kneeing did not come as the result of a sudden, unavoidable movement by De Leo, but instead was something Kaliyev could have and should have refrained from attempting. The Department of Player Safety also noted that De Leo suffered an injury on the play and that Kaliyev has been fined once already in his NHL career.
A two-game suspension for the regular season won’t come at a major cost for the Kings, who have quite a few quality scoring forwards already on their roster. But seeing as Kaliyev did manage 13 goals and 28 points in just 56 games last season, respectable production, not having Kaliyev in the lineup will still likely make things a little more difficult for Los Angeles for those two contests.
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