NHL suspends Alex Pietrangelo for one game after slashing Leon Draisaitl

Zach Laing
1 year ago
The NHL has suspended Vegas Golden Knights defenceman Alex Pietrangelo one game for his malicious two-handed slash on Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl.
The incident happened late in Wednesday night’s game four between the Oilers and Golden Knights. With a minute and a half left in the game, Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl tried to score on an empty net, but put the puck wide. As he skated down the right half-wall — with the puck now on the other side of the ice — Pietrangelo went out of his way skating towards the Oilers forward laying a heavy-handed, over-the-head, two-handed slash to Draisaitl’s hands.
In the league’s video explaining the suspension, the league says “significantly after the shot is released, and disregarding the continuation of the play, Pietrangelo skates towards Draisaitl, raises his stick with both hands and chops down with force on Draisaitl’s forearms. This is slashing.”
“In this case, the puck has been gone for some time before Pietrangelo chooses to ignore the play, raise his stick and deliver a slash to a vulnerable area of his opponent with sufficient force for supplemental discipline,” the league said. In their video, the league added that Pietrangelo had neither been fined or suspended in his 952 NHL game career.
For Pietrangelo, the slash was highly out of character, but something that was likely boiling for some time. All series long, the Oilers had been targeting him with physicality in multiple different ways. Evander Kane, for example, took a healthy run at him at the end of the first period of game three.
Earlier Thursday, the NHL upheld an automatic one-game suspension to Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse for instigating a fight with less than five minutes left in the game. The fight happened between him and Golden Knights defenceman Nic Hague with a minute and a half left in the game. Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft was also fined $10,000 as a result of the automatic suspension.
Game five between the two teams will feature both clubs without a top-paring defenceman. Puck drop is set for 8 p.m. MST Friday night.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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