Montreal Canadiens forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for a boarding call on Philadelphie Flyers defenceman Travis Sanheim.
Game 5 between the Montreal Canadiens had its fair share of controversies in regards to the officiating. The most notable being a cross-check from Flyers defenceman Matt Niskanen on Brendan Gallagher, which may have led to an injury to the forward’s jar and the other being Jesperi Kotkaniemi‘s game misconduct. The focus will be on the latter.
In the second period of play, Montreal Canadiens forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi got called for a 5-minute major and a game misconduct on Travis Sanheim. The 5-minute major was expected because Kotkaniemi’s feet were off the ice, Sanheim had his back turned and got cut on the hit. As a result, NHL protocol dictated that if a player suffered an injury to the face or head when a 5-minute major is to be granted, the player who initiated the hit is to be automatically ejected from the game.
How the referees handled the situation is still subject to questioning as many wonder if Sanheim could have done more to prevent himself from getting hit. Regardless, Kotkaniemi was removed for the remainder of the game, and Sanheim, fortunately, did not suffer any serious injuries.
No Further Discipline
Per Sportsnet’s Eric Engel’s, it is looking as if Jesperi Kotkaniemi will not have a hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. Therefore, he will avoid any potential punishments in the form of a fine and suspension which will serve as good news for the Montreal Canadiens who are looking to even their series against the Flyers.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi has been demonstrating the physical side of play since his first game back with the Montreal Canadiens after being sent down to the Laval Rocket in the AHL. While he has shown improvement on the side, he should be wary to not make a habit of the more dangerous hits.