Teemu Pulkkinen might want to have a conversation with Brendan Smith.
Pulkkinen, a Detroit Red Wings forward, has a hearing scheduled with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety after a hit from behind on Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Michael Kostka on Tuesday night.
As the video shows, Kostka was taking the puck behind the Blackhawks net when Pulkkinen barreled in from the Red Wings bench, through center ice and made a beeline for the Chicago defenseman. Kostka turned his back after taking a glance, but Pulkkinen made no effort on the play to avoid a potentially catastrophic hit.
He was given five minutes for boarding and a game misconduct at 2:16 of the first period.
Pulkkinen was given the option of an in-person hearing with the NHL, which means a suspension of five games or higher is on the table.
If he’s given one, it’s the second time in three seasons that a young Red Wings prospect would be handed a massive suspension in the preseason by the NHL for a hit on a Blackhawk.
The aforementioned Brendan Smith was suspended for eight games total, including five in the regular season, for a hit to head of Ben Smith. That Shanaban came during the 2011 preseason, when the NHL suspended nine players, establishing the new Department of Player Safety’s credentials rather starkly.
Might supending Pulkkinen for a big number of game serve as the same reminder that the NHL won’t tolerate these hits?