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San Jose Sharks' Tomas Hertl loses his helmet as he collides with Vancouver Canucks' Alexander Edler during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday October 10, 2013. (The Canadian Press)

San Jose Sharks' Tomas Hertl loses his helmet as he collides with Vancouver Canucks' Alexander Edler during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday October 10, 2013.

(The Canadian Press)

Canucks’ Edler suspended three games for check to the head of Sharks’ Hertl Add to ...

Vancouver Canucks defenceman Alex Edler was suspended for three games on Friday for an illegal check to the head of San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl.

The incident occurred with 14 seconds left in the second period of Vancouver’s 4-1 loss to San Jose on Thursday.

Hertl was chasing the puck as it exited the Sharks’ zone. The 19-year-old was leaning forward, reaching for the puck near the Canucks’ bench when Edler checked him, spinning Hertl around and sending his helmet into the air.

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“Edler does not hit Hertl squarely,” said NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan in a video explaining the suspension. “He cuts across the front of Hertl, making the head the main point of contact.”

Shanahan also said although Hertl had made himself vulnerable by reaching for the puck, he was not to blame for the check to the head.

“Although Hertl is leaning forward, the position of his head does not materially change immediately prior to, or simultaneous with the hit that significantly contributes to this head contact,” said Shanahan. “Aside from his helmet popping up into the air, Hertl’s reaction to this hit — getting spun rather than getting driven into the direction Edler was travelling — reaffirms our view that his head is the main point of contact.”

Edler is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement because he was suspended for charging last March.

Edler will forfeit $182,926.83 in salary, which will go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

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