Nikita Nesterov Suspended Two Games For Boarding


Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Nikita Nesterov has been suspended for two games for boarding against Dallas Stars left wing Curtis McKenzie.

As most of you know by now, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Nikita Nesterov was scheduled to have a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety regarding an illegal hit from behind made against Dallas Stars left wing Curtis McKenzie on Thursday night at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay.

The verdict has been passed down, and it seems as if the Tampa Bay Lightning will be without the young defenseman for a total of two games. The news of Nesterov’s suspension comes from the official site of the National Hockey League.

For those of you who may not be completely familiar with the situation, allow us to paint the picture for you. After the Tampa Bay Lightning had already lost defenseman Victor Hedman as a result of being crushed into the boards by Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn, the Tampa Bay Lightning found themselves down 3-1 with very little time left in the second period.

As he skated along the boards, Dallas Stars left wing Curtis McKenzie awaited a pass from his teammate, defenseman Jason Demers. As McKenzie received the puck, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Nikita Nesterov had already began his pursuit of McKenzie.

McKenzie turned to get better possession of the puck, and when he does this Nesterov does nothing to put the brakes on and soften the check. As a result, McKenzie is sent flying into the boards. As a brawl broke out in front of the broadcast area, McKenzie laid on the ground in an obvious state of distress. McKenzie would eventually make his way off the ice, but it would be under the power of two of his teammates.

As we mentioned earlier, Dallas Stars Head Coach Lindy Ruff stated that McKenzie was transported to the hospital for further evaluation. While he didn’t offer up the nature of the injury, he did say that McKenzie was in “excruciating pain.” As of this morning, Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill reported that McKenzie is being flown back to Dallas for further evaluation. The extent of McKenzie’s injury is still unknown at this point.

There are a few factors that came into play in determining the length of Nesterov’s suspension. One of the factors bearing the most weight is that at no point and time does Nesterov ever seen anything other than McKenzie’s back, which is clearly an illegal check from behind which sent McKenzie flying into the boards in a dangerous and unprotected manner.

On the flip side, this is the first time that Nesterov has been fined or suspended for anything in the time he has been playing in the National Hockey League. As a result, in addition to his two game suspension, Nikita Nesterov will be forced to surrender $7,983.88 of his salary, which will be given to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

This is definitely bad news for the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning are already down one defenseman due to the injury Victor Hedman sustained on Thursday night. Now, they will be without Nesterov as well. The Tampa Bay Lightning has recalled defenseman Slater Koekkoek to play for Hedman. It is unknown at this point how the Tampa Bay Lightning will compensate for the loss of Nesterov.

The one thing we know for sure is it is never a good day when a player is injured; whether he plays for your favorite team or a hated rival. We here at Bolts By The Bay would like to wish Dallas Stars forward Curtis McKenzie the best as he recovers from his injury.

What do you think the Lightning will do to compensate for the loss of Nikita Nesterov for the next two games? Do you agree with the ruling from the NHL Department of Player Safety? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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