Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog received a two-game suspension - the fourth suspension of his career - for boarding the Chicago Blackhawks' Kirby Dach in the teams' season opener. Landeskog is set to miss a home game Saturday against the St. Louis Blues and a road game against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.
With 3:37 left in regulation Wednesday, Dach went down to one knee shortly before Landeskog lowered his body and drove him into the boards. Dach’s upper body and helmet made contact with the boards.
In an NHL.com video announcing the ruling, Dach was described as "defenseless in this situation." The video also stated Landeskog had enough time to "recognize the situation." The speed and force of the hit were cited.
Matching minors were assessed to Landeskog and Tyler Johnson for roughing, and Landeskog received two minutes for boarding. He was escorted away from a scrum and went down the tunnel.
“Somebody above me will make those determinations," assistant coach Ray Bennett — speaking in place of coach Jared Bednar, who remained sidelined following a positive COVID-19 test — said after the game. "I think that there was no injury on the play, so I’m thankful for that. Landy’s a clean, hard-nosed player that is highly competitive.
“I hope it’s just seen as a hockey play but that will go well above me.”
Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement and based on his average annual salary, Landeskog will forfeit $70,000.00. Landeskog signed an eight-year, $56 million extension with Colorado, where he’s spent his entire career, in July.
The morning after Colorado’s 4-2 win, the official account for the the NHL Department of Player Safety tweeted that Landeskog would have a hearing. A release noted Dach remained in the game after the hit.
Landeskog was suspended three times in successive years, but the last was in 2017. He was suspended two games in 2015 for an open-ice blindside hit to the upper body of the Boston Bruins’ Brad Marchand. Marchand retaliated with a punch and drew a fine.
Landeskog was suspended three games in 2016 for a cross check on Simon Despres of the Anaheim Ducks, and four games in 2017 for cross-checking the Calgary Flames’ Matthew Tkachuk's neck and head.
Eighteen months is the window to be considered a repeat offender, but that applies to salary forfeited. According to the Department of Player Safety FAQs, “...even if a Player is not defined as a repeat offender, his past history may come into consideration when determining future supplemental discipline.” Landeskog's history was referenced in the video.
The Avalanche hoped to have Landeskog's linemate Nathan MacKinnon, who is in COVID-19 protocol, back Saturday. Colorado is scheduled to raise a banner in honor of late general manager Pierre Lacroix before the game against the Blues.
If MacKinnon is unable to return, Mikko Rantanen will be the only member of that line available. Nazem Kadri moved up to fill in for MacKinnon during Wednesday's game.