The Montreal Canadiens will be without the first-overall pick for the next few days as Juraj Slafkovsky has been given a two-game suspension by the Department of Player Safety for his hit on Matt Luff. As the accompanying video explains:
It is important to note that while Luff does turn to face the wall, he does not do so just prior to or simultaneous with contact in a way that turns a legal check into an illegal one. From the time he crosses the blue line, Slafkovsky is looking at Luff’s numbers. The onus is on Slavkovsky to deliver this check in a legal fashion, minimize the force of the contact, or avoid the hit entirely.
As expected, the league took into account Luff’s subsequent injury – wrist surgery that will keep him out 10-12 weeks – in determining the punishment. This will be the first supplementary discipline of Slafkovsky’s young career but will now be taken into consideration whenever there is another borderline incident.
It is also the second Montreal Canadiens forward that has been suspended for boarding in just a few days, after Josh Anderson also received a two-game ban for his hit on Alex Pietrangelo. They occurred at nearly identical spots on the ice (though in different rinks), and resulted in the same discipline.
Slafkovsky will miss games against the Vancouver Canucks and Pittsburgh Penguins.