There’s been plenty of chatter Sunday since the NHL announced Erik Karlsson has been suspended for two games for his hit on Los Angeles Kings forward Austin Wagner. Just before the Sharks hosted the Arizona Coyotes, Karlsson himself commented on it.
“I hope he’s OK,” the defenseman told the media at SAP Center ahead of Sunday’s game. “I can’t go into specific details because I don’t want to risk anything more since I have no say in the matter.”
The hit occurred during the second period of San Jose’s Saturday matinee contest with the rival Kings. Wagner was slow to get up after the hit and didn’t finish the game. It was reported earlier in the day that Wagner would not participate in the Kings’ Sunday night game against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Since this is the first time in Karlsson’s career that he had to have a hearing, it was largely speculated he’d receive no more than a one-game suspension, or just a fine. Now, he’ll be out of the lineup against both the Coyotes and Thursday against the Anaheim Ducks.
“I have a clear conscience for my part,” Karlsson said. “I think I did everything within the rules, but unfortunately, some people didn’t think that I did.”
Defenseman Tim Heed filled into the lineup for Karlsson on Sunday. When asked how San Jose would play in his absence, Karlsson told the press he has no doubt the Sharks will rise to the occasion.
“I think they’re going to rally around it,” he said. “I think we have a great team in there, no matter who we’re missing.”