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Mikhail Sergachev suspended two games for illegal check to head of Marner

Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev has been suspended two games for an illegal check to the head of Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner.

During Toronto’s 2-1 overtime win Thursday night, Sergachev was penalized for a hit up high on Marner as he skated into the Tampa Bay zone on a breakaway. Marner was slowed by Victor Hedman, who was given his own minor penalty for a very clear hook, and then Sergachev caught the Maple Leafs forward with a shoulder to the head to prevent a scoring chance.

Marner did not have to leave the ice and ended up leading all forwards in ice time (25:27). He said after the game that Sergachev went up to him in the second period to apologize.

“I haven’t really seen it, to be honest,” Marner said. “I know he came across, caught me up high a little bit. It’s obviously something you don’t want happening.”

Maple Leafs captain John Tavares, who was the first player to go after Sergachev following the play, was not happy with the hit.

“I didn’t like it at all,” Tavares said. “I thought Mitchy was pretty exposed, no chance to really protect himself or see it coming. Didn’t like it at all. Hit him right in the head. We want that stuff out of our game. [A suspension] should be at least talked about.”

As is the case with most suspensions that come from hits to the head, the NHL emphasizes that players, like Sergachev in this case, should take an angle that would result in body/shoulder contact. Making the head the main point of a contact is a good way to earn yourself some form of punishment from the DoPS.

Sergachev will be eligible to return to the Lightning’s game next Saturday against the Panthers.


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.