Thompson suspended two games for illegal hit
Lightning center Nate Thompson has been suspended for two games, without pay, for an illegal check to the head on Devils forward Matt D'Agostini during Friday night's 5-4 shootout win.
The incident occurred midway through the second period. D'Agostini was looking down for the puck just outside the Lightning blue line when Thompson appeared to hit him in the head with his shoulder. According to Rule 48, any hit resulting in contact with an opponent's head, where head is targeted and principal point of contact is not permitted."
D'Agostini fell to the ground, but stayed in the game. There was no penalty called on the play.
Thompson, 28, who had never previously been fined or suspended in a six-year career, said it wasn't his intent to hurt D'Agostini.
"I play the game hard, I play it clean," Thompson said. "It's never your intention to hurt anybody out there. Things happen in this league and things happen fast and sometimes you're in situations where the league has to make a decision. It's unfortunate it has to be two games, but they have a job to do."
Thompson said he led with his shoulder, and "it probably hit him in the wrong spot." Thompson is glad D'Agostini is okay, with the toughest part having to miss key games as the Lightning try to crawl back into the playoff race.
"That's probably the biggest part that's disappointing," Thompson said. "We have some momentum right now, new coach and guys are pretty energized and ready to go. And we have an opportunity to go for a run, and that's togh. I think it's the biggest part for me to swallow is I have to miss the next two games and not be a part of it."
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Thompson will forfeit $9,729.72. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.