5:09 pm: Hertl has been handed a two-game suspension for high-sticking by the Department of Player Safety this afternoon. In explaining their rationale for the decision, DoPS gave the following statement in their explanatory video:
It is important to note that this is not a reckless or careless use of the stick. Rather, this is a directed, retaliatory stick swing that strikes an opponent at a dangerous height.
10:51 am: The Department of Player Safety has some more work to do, as San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl will have a hearing today. The potential supplementary discipline stems from a high-sticking incident in last night’s game against the Calgary Flames, when Hertl retaliated against Elias Lindholm. He was penalized on the play, and took responsibility after the game:
I got cross-checked three times to the shoulder. I tried to slash him on the stick, but the stick slid a little high. It’s a terrible penalty…it’s a mistake by me, I can’t do that. You never try to hit a guy high, but it happened.
The Flames already got some revenge, as Lindholm would score on the ensuing powerplay and again 20 seconds after that, before Dillon Dube put the game out of reach a few minutes later. Hertl would eventually score a powerplay goal of his own partway through the third, but the penalty had put the game out of reach for the Sharks.
He now faces a potential suspension, and there have been several already this season that suggest one will be coming. Jeff Skinner, Matthew Tkachuk, Pierre Engvall, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Michael Rasmussen have all received punishment for high-sticking incidents, though they have varied in force and situation. Skinner’s three-game ban was the longest of the bunch, handed out earlier this month.
For those wondering if some other discipline would be coming down from the league, namely for a hit from Sam Lafferty on Filip Chytil, Arthur Staple of The Athletic reports there will not.