The NHL’s Department of Player Safety suspended Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich one game for high-sticking Anthony Mantha, Thursday afternoon.
The one-game suspension was for high-sticking and not cross-checking due to Buchnevich dropping one hand from his stick before striking Mantha in the face.
That choice, unintentional or not, ended up mattering very much in curtailing the length of the suspension.
“As the video shows, Buchnevich delivers a legal body check to Mantha on the wall,” DoPS explains. “In response, Mantha first pushes him lightly then skates with Buchnevich for a few strides tapping the back of his legs with his stick. Actions for which the on-ice officials signal a minor penalty to Mantha. As the play comes to the end for the penalty, Mantha looks to engage. As they do so, Buchnevich raises his hands, releases his stick with one hand, and then strikes Mantha recklessly in the face with the stick with significant force. This is high-sticking.
“It is important to note that while we agree that Buchnevich’s actions are defensive in nature, players are not excused from following league rules because of the actions of their opponent. While Mantha’s actions may have been provocative, Buchnevich is not permitted to respond to that provocation with a reckless and forceful strike directly to the face of his opponent.”
In the end, after two line brawls, a scathing Rangers’ statement, and lots of critical quotes from the Rangers towards Tom Wilson, only Buchnevich ended up suspended.
Screenshot courtesy of NBCSN
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