TAMPA — Lightning defenseman Mike Kostka sustained a concussion from the devastating hit to the head he took Tuesday from Canadiens defenseman Douglas Murray.
Murray has an 11 a.m. phone hearing today with the league, which means he will not be suspended for more than five games and can get fewer games.
Kostka is out indefinitely, though general manager Steve Yzerman said, "He's doing really well, all things considered.''
Captain Steven Stamkos called the hit — an elbow thrown while Kostka carried the puck — "one of the worst I've seen live."
Stamkos made sure to call Murray, who has never been suspended in a nine-year career, "a clean, honest player."
"But that play was dirty," Stamkos said. "That's a flying elbow right to the jaw, and (Kostka) is absolutely knocked out on the ice. I don't think anyone can argue the fact, if they've seen the replay and seen multiple angles of the replay, that was a dirty play."
Tampa Bay's brass took a gentler approach.
"By no means do I think he meant to hurt him," coach Jon Cooper said. "But it's unfortunate because (Murray) was playing careless."
Said Yzerman: "Mike faked left and went right, and Douglas Murray was just reacting to get a piece of him. Unfortunately, he got him in the head."
Asked if the hit was malicious, Yzerman said no.
"(Murray) is a big, powerful man and hits hard," Yzerman said. "Things happen so quickly, and it's a reaction."
"He's cutting through, and I'm trying to finish my check," Murray told Montreal reporters. "I don't think I'm a dirty player."