Montreal Canadiens defenseman Douglas Murray stepped up on Mike Kostka of the Tampa Bay Lightning as he entered the offensive zone, picked his head and gave him a concussion. There was no gray area on the hit and it gave the NHL's Department of Player Safety a pretty easy decision to ping Murray for three games.
Here's Patrick Burke with the explanation:
Three games is pretty common for this kind of hit. Of the 31 "illegal check to the head" suspensions handed out since Brendan Shanahan took over in 2001, 13 have been for three games.
There was no malicious intent on Murray's part, just a poor delivery on a hit. Kostka was diagnosed with a concussion and there's currently no timetable for when he will return.
After the game Tuesday, Murray sent Kostka a text to apologize. Via the Lightning:
"Classy move," Kostka said. "I don't think he had malicious intent, but needless to say it was a bad hit."
Koskta said after leaving the ice for the trainers' room it took him about 20 minutes to realize what was going on. The defenseman did not have any recollection of the hit, but had a chance to watch it on tape.
"It was a pretty nasty scary looking hit," Kostka said. "I'm thankful I'm standing today."
Murray will be eligible to return to the Habs for their April 10 game against the New York Islanders.
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