Blackhawks’ Brett Connolly suspended 4 games for a shot on Tanner Kero – NBC Chicago
Brett Connolly suspended for bang on Tanner Kero originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Blackhawks forward Brett Connolly has been suspended for four games for interference with Dallas Stars forward Tanner Kero, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced Sunday night.
The incident happened at 3:02 of the first period in Saturday’s game. Connolly was given a five-minute major penalty and misconduct during the game as Kero was stretched out of the ice and transported to a nearby hospital for precautionary reasons.
“Connolly gives Kero a powerful, powerful blow which makes significant head contact, knocking him onto the ice and causing an injury,” the Department of Player Safety said in a two-minute video explaining the reasoning behind the suspension. “This is interference. It is important to note that Kero has never been in possession of the puck on this play and therefore cannot be checked in any way.
“We have heard Connolly say that this is more of a collision than an intentional check. Although we agree that Connolly does not initiate this contact with the full force of a brutal check, this is not a simple collision between two players unaware of the impending contact.
“For now [Alexander] Radulov comes up the ice to make a play, Kero is still directly between Connolly and the puck. Fully aware of Kero’s presence and with plenty of time to change course, completely avoid contact, move towards the wall to seal the boards or do more to minimize the impact on Kero, Connolly braces for impact and skates directly by his opponent.
“And because Kero is never close to being in possession of the puck, he is by no means prepared for contact, which makes him considerably more vulnerable.”
Connolly will lose $ 70,000, based on his average annual salary and under the terms of the collective agreement. The money goes to the Emergency Player Assistance Fund.
Blackhawks interim head coach Derek King said after Saturday’s 4-3 overtime loss to Dallas that Connolly was “shaken” by the incident.
“He’s not that kind of person,” King said of Connolly. “He’s not trying to do something like that or hurt anyone. I’m going to have to have a little chat with him and calm him down here a bit.
“You don’t want to see this or wish that on anyone. [Connolly] just isn’t that type of player. … I just hope Tanner is okay. Tanner is a very good boy. I had it in Rockford for a little while. You don’t want to see that, but it does happen in this game and I hope he’s okay. “
Stars head coach Rick Bowness echoed those feelings about Connolly, both as a player and as a person.
“I know Brett Connolly and I know he’s not a dirty player,” Bowness said. “I trained him in Tampa, and he’s a good boy. It’s just hockey, Brett Connolly would never intentionally hurt anyone, so I don’t blame him. He comes back, he tries to keep his job here, and he hits a guy. It’s unfortunate that this has happened. “
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