Canadiens forward Max Domi faces a disciplinary hearing Thursday with the NHL’s department of player safety after his dropped-glove sucker punch to unsuspecting Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad in Wednesday’s preseason game in Montreal, according to multiple reports.
“I’m sure the league will look at it and we definitely won’t forget about it,” Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo told reporters afterward (via TSN.ca). “You don’t do that. You respect your opponents and if your opponent doesn’t want to engage in a fight, there’s no reason to drop your glove and punch him square in the face.
“Bit of a gutless play. You don’t do those types of things.”
In his first game in a Canadiens sweater, Max Domi is tossed for this punch to the face of Aaron Ekblad. pic.twitter.com/VBKBxx4jeg
— Tim and Sid (@timandsid) September 20, 2018
After the punch, Ekblad was removed from the game (a 5-2 Panthers win), at the league’s request, TSN reported. He didn’t return but cleared the NHL’s concussion protocol after going through tests.
Domi was given a minor, major and match penalty on the play. As might be expected, his teammates viewed the incident differently.
“I saw a pretty big slash from Ekblad on Max, and Max just took matters into his own hands,” Canadiens center Jonathan Drouin said (via The Associated Press). “It’s also Ekblad’s fault for not protecting himself.”
Either way, “NHL Player Safety will review it. It’s in their hands now,” Panthers coach Bob Boughner said.
Added the Panthers’ Mike Hoffman: “I guess (the Canadiens) were trying to showcase something over there. It’s preseason, so maybe guys are trying to make an impression. But maybe do it by playing hockey.”