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Canadiens Forward Michael Pezzetta Suspended Two Games



Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens forward Michael Pezzetta has been suspended for two games, without pay, for an illegal check to the head of Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Pezzetta will forfeit $7,500.00. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

The hit took place 15:42 into the third period of the Canadiens’ 8-4 loss to the Capitals on Saturday night.  Pezzetta came in late from the side on Oshie and against the boards. Michael Pezzetta decided to follow through on his hit but did more of a drive-by hit from the side and then chicken-winged his elbow up into Oshie’s head. The Montreal Canadiens forward was given a two-minute minor penalty for illegal check to the head.

Here’s the explanation from the N HL Department of Player Safety Monday afternoon:

“As the video shows, a loos puck moves towards the half wall in Washington’s end and multiple players race toward it. Oshie arrives at the puck first and attempts to make a breakout pass to a teammate. After he moves the puck, Pezzetta finishes a high, hard check on Oshie that cuts across the front of his core and picks his head making it the main point of contact on a hit where such contact was avoidable. This is an illegal check to the head.

On this play, both elements of the illegal check rule are satisfied. First, Oshie’s head is the main point of contact on this hit. Pezzetta hits forcefully through Oshie’s head on his right shoulder, making no meaningful contact with any other part of Oshie’s body. Second, the head contact on this play is avoidable. While Oshie does make a play on the puck, he does not change the position of his head or body just prior to contact, in a way that significantly contributes to the head being the main point of contact. Pezzetta takes a poor angle of approach in lining up this hit, choosing to cut across in front of Oshie rather than hitting into the left shoulder or the core. If he wants to deliver this check, Pezzetta must stay low and take an angle of approach that hits through Oshie’s core rather than make the head the main point of contact.”

Here’s another look at the hit:


Pezzetta played 7:56 of ice time Saturday night and did not register a point. The Montreal Canadiens winger has five goals and three assists in 47 games for the Habs this season.

Oshie had one goal in 18:50 of ice time, giving him 10 lamplighters this season to go along with 13 assists in 37 games for the Washington Capitals.

The Montreal Canadiens have had two other players suspended this season. Cedric Paquette was suspended for two games and fined $9,000 for boarding Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras in a 4-2 loss on Oct. 31. Then more recently, on Jan.12, Montreal Canadiens defenceman Chris Wideman was suspended one game for head-butting Boston Bruins forward Erik Haula in a 5-1 loss the the Bruins.

Pezzetta will be unable to play when the Montreal Canadiens host the Minnesota Wild Tuesday and the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday. He will be eligible to return next Saturday when the Canadiens play the Senators in Otatwa.