Adam Erne did some pretty great things in his Tampa Bay Lightning debut Wednesday night in Orlando, scoring twice and contributing the deciding shootout goal in the Lightning's 4-3 preseason win over the St. Louis Blues. Putting the puck in the goal three times probably helped his bid to make the team.
But he always did one pretty bad thing that hurt it, hitting Vladimir Sobotka in the head on an open-ice hit. For this, he's been suspended for three preseason games, as Brendan Shanahan explains:
Rough break for Erne, who says he had no intention of catching Sobotka's head.
"It was a total accident," Erne said after the game. "It was not intentional; I was just trying to hit him. It's not an ideal start, but it happens and you have to move on."
Accident or no, the NHL deemed this hit worthy of supplemental discipline, and now Erne have to wait quite awhile to make another strong impression. Maybe until next season.
The 2013 2nd round draft pick was a pretty big longshot to make the team even before this, but with the Lightning likely looking to ice a veteran-heavy lineup by the time Erne's eligible to return, this ban might rule out his chances entirely.
It's a stiff punishment, but a reminder to all prospects looking to make a name for themselves this preseason: a dirty hit will cut your tryout short.
Erne wasn't the only kid the NHL reminded Thursday.
Detroit Red Wings prospect Teemu Pulkkinen earned a big suspension after hitting Chicago Blackhawks' defender Mike Kostka into the end boards and out of the game. Pulkkinen received a five-minute major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct on the play, but the NHL added four more games onto the punishment. Once you see the video, that seems fair:
Yeah, when you see the numbers for that long, you just can't make a hit like that.
Like Erne, Pulkkinen will be eligible to return for the Red Wings' final two tune-ups.