Washington Capitals forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel was suspended three games by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety due to a headshot on Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Cal Foote, Friday.
Aube-Kubel will be eligible to return on Saturday, November 19 against the Colorado Avalanche.
The play occurred at the 1:52 mark of the second period. Aube-Kubel nailed Foote with a hit as the rearguard was dumping the puck into the Lightning’s offensive zone. Aube-Kubel’s shoulder connected directly with Foote’s face, bloodying his nose. Foote left the game with an injuryand did not return.
Aube-Kubel was given a match penalty for an illegal check to the head and ejected.
Lightning head coach Jon Cooper was asked how Foote was doing after the game.
“Not great,” Cooper said. “He wasn’t able to come back. That’s a tough hit. It defines the word blindside.”
As explained by DoPS in its explainer video, the play was suspendable because the main point of contact was the head and the hit was avoidable. It also led to an injury.
“Aube-Kubel finishes a high, hard check that makes the head the main part of contact on a hit where such head contact was avoidable,” DoPS said. “It is important to note that both elements of the illegal check to the head rule are satisfied on this play. First, the head is the main point of contact as Aube-Kubel’s shoulder makes direct contact with Foote’s head and it’s the head that absorbs a majority of the force of the check. Second, the head contact on this play is avoidable. Aube-Kubel chooses an angle of approach that cuts across the front of Foote’s body, missing his core and hitting his head. If Aube-Kubel wants to deliver this hit, he must stay low and choose an angle that leads to a full-body check through the shoulder and core rather than one that makes the head the main point of contact.”
This is the first time Aube-Kubel has been suspended by the NHL during his five-year career in the NHL. NAK has been fined twice before though: $2,687 for kneeing (10/24/2021) and $4,633 for roughing (1/19/2021).
Per the NHL, Aube-Kubel will forfeit $16,216.23 to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Washington’s Nicolas Aube-Kubel has been suspended for three games for an Illegal Check to the Head on Tampa Bay’s Cal Foote. https://t.co/jj3O1qdJ7e
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) November 13, 2022
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