Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Michael Kostka (21) is treated by trainers after being knocked unconscious by Montreal Canadiens defenseman Douglas Murray (not pictured) at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Murray was ejected for the hit. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Griffith-USA TODAY Sports

Montreal Canadiens Defenseman Douglas Murray Suspended for Three Games for Illegal Hit to the Head on Tampa Bay Lightning Defenseman Mike Kostka

The NHL Department of Player Safety announced earlier this afternoon that Montreal Canadiens defenseman Douglas Murray has been suspended for three games as a result of the illegal hit to the head he perpetrated against Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mike Kostka late in the third period on Tuesday, April 1st at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

During the game, Murray was assessed a match penalty for the incident. Unfortunately, Mike Kostka wasn’t so lucky.

Kostka lay motionless on the ice for quite some time before the play was even stopped.

Thanks to the quick thinking of Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, the Lightning medical team was able to get to Kostka in a quick manner.

After lying motionless on the ice for a lot longer than I, or any of us for that matter, would like to have seen, Kostka was able to make it to his feet. With a little help from fellow Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, Kostka was able to make it off the ice where he was assisted by the Lightning medical staff down the tunnel and to the locker room.

In addition to his suspension, under the terms of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, Murray will be forced to forfeit $23,076.93 of his salary. This money will benefit the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Here is a look at the official explanation from the NHL Department of Player Safety.

While the hockey gods, or in this case the NHL Department of Player Safety may have swung their ban hammer, if I feel that it may have been a little light. While I respect the fact that he has never been caught by the officials acting in this manner, and that he contends that he believed that he had his arm tucked in, if you watch the video, it is pretty apparent that he knew exactly what he was doing.

Personally, I would have liked to have seen him sit for a minimum of five games for the incident. Especially considering that Kostka sustained a concussion as a result of the incident and there is currently no timetable for his return.

While we may get lucky and his injury not be as severe as it is initially believed to be, there is a very good possibility that we will be without Kostka for at least the opening round of the post-season, where ironically enough, we are more than likely going to meet up once again with the Montreal Canadiens.

What do you think about the suspension? Do you think the NHL Department of Player Safety issued a fair punishment for the infraction committed, or do you think they went a little light on him? Furthermore, who do you think the Lightning should use to fill Kostka’s slot until he is well enough to take the ice once again? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


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