Max Domi wanted a fight, and he may eventually get his wish.
Sporting two shiners and a broken nose at his media availability on Friday, Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad all but promised retribution for the sucker punch the Montreal Canadiens centre landed flush in Wednesday’s preseason contest.
“I think he’s stupid for doing it,” Ekblad told George Richards of The Athletic. “Scores will be settled at a later date.”
Further to it, Ekblad disagreed with the five-game all-preseason suspension for Domi, calling it “a gift,” but “that’s life.”
Fresh off avoiding any financial penalty for his right cross, Domi addressed his role in the fracas as well on Friday, and predictably had a little more explaining to do.
Via Stu Cowen of the Montreal Gazette:
It’s a real tough situation, obviously, for everyone involved. I feel bad about it. It’s not the way I wanted to handle that. It’s an emotional game. Obviously, I’m an emotional player. I’ve known Aaron for a long time, grew up playing against each other. We always play hard, always battle, whether it was in minor hockey, junior, the national level and now the NHL, too. By no means did I want to hurt him. I feel bad about it and I hope he’s OK. But, you know what, I got to suffer the consequences of it. It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is and I definitely respect the league’s decision.
Aside from the injuries he’s clearly wearing, it seems that Ekblad, who has a history of concussions, thankfully avoided a significant setback as a result of the blow.
His first chance to punch back comes Dec. 28, when the Habs visit Sunrise.
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