Mar 22, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler (23) keeps the puck away from Dallas Stars center Vernon Fiddler (38) during the game at the American Airlines Center. The Canucks defeated the Stars 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Alexander Edler Suspended Three Games for Hit on Tomas Hertl

Vancouver Canucks defenceman Alexander Edler has been suspended three games for an illegal check to the head to San Jose Sharks winger Tomas Hertl.

The incident occurred with approximately 14 seconds left to play in the second period of Thursday’s game.

Hertl dumped the puck in front of the Canucks bench and proceeded to skate onto it to retrieve it back. Edler skated onto the puck as well and ended hitting Hertl in the head causing his helmet to dislodge.

There was no penalty assessed on the play on Edler by the referees, but the Sharks players on the ice didn’t seem pleased about the hit and went after Edler.

Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said after the game it would be up to the NHL to interpret the hit and decide whether supplemental discipline would be necessary.

Players have always been taught to use their body to protect the puck and use their size to their advantage. It looks like on the hit, the 6’3″ and 210-pound Edler was trying to skate onto the puck sideways so once he gets to it, the puck is shielded from the slightly smaller Hertl. Edler’s body and Hertl’s head got to the puck at the same time resulting in a hit to the head.

The NHL did not interpret it this way and saw Edler’s body turn as an attempt to make Hertl’s head the principle point of contact.

“Edler approaches low and athletic, is posed to possibly make a hard, legal check on Hertl,” Shanahan explained. “However, Edler does not hit Hertl squarely. He cuts across the front of Hertl making the head the principal point of of contact.”

“It is important to note although Hertl is leaning forward, the position of his head does not materially change immediately prior to or simultaneous with the hit in a way that significantly contributes to this head contact.

“Aside from his helmet popping up in the air, Hertl’s reaction to this hit—getting spun rather than being driven in the direction Edler was travelling—reaffirms our view that his head was the main point of contact.

Edler is recognized as a repeat offender after he was suspended last season for two games for a hit on Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith.

Video from the Sharks feed:

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