San Jose Sharks defenceman Erik Karlsson was suspended two games without pay by the NHL on Sunday for an illegal check to the head of Los Angeles Kings forward Austin Wagner.
The incident occurred early in the second period of the Kings’ 3-2 overtime win over the Sharks on Saturday. Wagner left the game after getting taken down by Karlsson on a hard hit near centre ice. After getting back on his feet, Wagner’s legs came out from under him. No penalty was called.
“I’m not going to lie. I was very surprised,” Karlsson said.
“I think it’s a clean hit. I hope he’s OK. It’s unfortunate that he didn’t finish the game. I can’t really go into specific details because I don’t want to risk anything more, since I have no say in the matter. But at the end of the day, hopefully he’s fine. You never want to see anyone get hurt, and I wish him all the best. I have a clear conscience for my part. I think I did everything within the rules, but unfortunately some people didn’t think I did.”
Karlsson, who has points in eight consecutive games, has two goals and 24 assists this season for San Jose.
“Disappointed,” Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said. “From every report I have, my understanding is the injury is to the shoulder. I think that speaks to it, in my mind. But I might be oversimplifying. I’m not going to say any more on that because you just get yourself in trouble.”
Karlsson, who joined the Sharks in an off-season trade with Ottawa, started serving the suspension Sunday against Arizona and will also miss Thursday’s game against the Ducks. He is eligible to return Saturday in Edmonton.