The Sabres will be without Jack Eichel the next two games, after the NHL Department of player safety handed the star centerman a two game suspension for his illegal check to the head on Colorado’s Carl Soderberg in Saturday’s 3-0 loss.
With 5:14 to play in the second period, as Soderberg skated through the neutral zone toward the wall, Eichel made contact with Soderberg, who fell to the ice. The Avs center would stay in the game while Eichel was assessed a two minute minor penalty.
Eichel will now miss Tuesday’s game against the Dallas Stars and Thursday’s showdown with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
#Sabres Captain Jack Eichel suspended 2 games for an illegal hit to the head. Explanation from @NHLPlayerSafety @NEWS4_NICK
🎥: MSG pic.twitter.com/0hncjmFUwu— Nick Filipowski (@NEWS4_NICK) March 10, 2019
In a video explaination, the Department of Player Safety said:
“With Soderberg reaching for the puck, Eichel cuts sharply in front of him, with his upper body hitting Soderberg’s head and making it the main point of contact on a hit in which such contract was avoidable. This is an illegal check to the head.
“It is important to note the head is the main point of contact on this play as Eichel’s body makes direct contact with the head of Soderberg. In addition, the head contact on this play is avoidable.
“While we acknowledge Eichel’s argument that Soderberg is low and reaching for the puck, this hit does not meet the criteria for unavoidable head contact under Rule 48.”
The 22-year-old has 25 goals and 47 assists through 65 games but despite his individual production, the Sabres will likely once agianst miss the postseason for an eighth straight year, and fourth in a row with the former No. 2 overall selection on the roster.
Buffalo raced out a 17-6-2 start and climbed to No. 1 in the NHL standings following a 10-game winning streak but Has fallen 10 points back of the wildcard as the team has managed just 13 wins since November 29th.