NASHVILLE — Dallas Stars forward Cody Eakin, who was ejected from Thursday night’s game for his hit on Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist in the first period, was suspended without pay for four games Friday after a hearing with the NHL’s department of player safety.
Eakin will forfeit $85,555.56. The money goes to the players’ emergency fund.
The incident occurred at 9:19 of the first period. Eakin leveled Lundqvist behind the net while the goalie’s head was down as he tried to retrieve the puck. Lundqvist’s helmet flew off, he went down and he struggled to get to his feet before falling to his knees again.
Eakin, who executed the hit with 51 seconds left in a Rangers power play, was given a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct. “I didn’t see him coming at all,” said Lundqvist, who passed the concussion protocol and sat out 5:31 before returning to the ice in the Rangers’ 2-0 victory.
“I was coming in pretty fast, trying to create some energy, and my intention was to go for the puck,” Eakin said after the game. “Obviously, it was not to make contact with him or his head. The collision carried me a little bit off my feet.”
“The league better do something about that hit,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said Thursday night. “It’s everything that you want to take away from the game — hit to the head, forward motion and it’s a goaltender on top. If that happens in the playoffs and your goaltender has got to go out of the net, they better do something about that.”