Toronto Maple Leafs ahead Michael Bunting has been suspended three playoff video games for an unlawful hit to the pinnacle of Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Eric Cernak within the second interval of Game 1. The NHL Department of Player Safety introduced its determination on Wednesday, and the Leafs can be with out Bunting by means of Game 4.
Late within the second interval, Bunting and Cernak had been going for a free puck when Bunting launched into Cernak’s head. The Tampa defenseman left the sport with a head harm and didn’t return, and Bunting was assessed a five-minute main.
In its video explaining determination, the NHL stated that each standards for an unlawful hit to the pinnacle had been met on the play.
“First, the pinnacle is clearly the principle level of contact,” the NHL stated in its clarification. “Bunting’s arm and elbow make direct and forceful contact with the pinnacle of Cernak, and it’s the head that absorbs practically the entire power of the test.
“Second, the pinnacle contact on this play is avoidable. Bunting unnecessarily extends his physique upward into Cernak’s head to ship this test, lacking his core fully and choosing his head.”
The league additionally famous that Cernak was “significantly susceptible” as a result of there was clear interference on Bunting’s half. The puck was nonetheless far-off when Bunting initiated the contact.
Lightning head coach Jon Cooper has already dominated Cernak out for Game 2, and Toronto can be with out Bunting whereas going through a 1-0 deficit within the sequence.
Bunting is coming off a 2022-23 season during which he tallied 23 objectives and 26 assists in 82 video games. His absence will make the Maple Leafs’ try to get out of the primary spherical for the primary time since 2004 an much more tough process.
Leave a Reply