Sharks' Blichfeld could be suspended for MacKinnon head hit

Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche

Sharks rookie Joachim Blichfeld received a match penalty for a hit on Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon in Wednesday’s 4-0 loss to the Avs.

Blichfeld was ejected for making contact with MacKinnon’s head after referees reviewed the hit, which occurred with about 12 minutes remaining in the third period.

Blichfeld’s teammate Brent Burns came to his defense postgame, as reported by San Jose Hockey Now’s Sheng Peng.

Sharks coach Bob Boughner said he didn’t get a good look at the hit on the bench TV monitors and hadn’t seen another replay by the time he spoke with reporters in his postgame video conference.

“Everything happened so fast out there,” Boughner said.

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Some Sharks fans were quick to remember a 2019 hit on Tomas Hertl in the Western Conference Finals that went without a penalty or suspension.

The NHL rulebook states, “In addition to the match penalty, the player shall be automatically suspended from further competition until the Commissioner has ruled on the issue.” 

So it’s a very real possibility Blichfeld could miss further time once Gary Bettman reviews the play. The 22-year-old Blichfeld was playing in his first game of the season and only logged 5:21 on the ice before his exit.

Avs coach Jared Bednar said MacKinnon is expected to be OK, via KCNC-TV's Michael Spencer.

It was a bang-bang play and MacKinnon certainly looked shaken up in real-time. It’s not fair for us to assume what Blichfeld’s intent was, but Bettman will have to play judge for another call that has been a gray area for the league for years.