LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A body slam of an opponent led to Florida Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson receiving a two-game suspension from the NHL on Monday.
In the third period Saturday, Matheson checked Vancouver Canucks forward Elias Pettersson into the boards, then slammed Pettersson into the ice. No penalty was called on the ice in a game Vancouver won 3-2.
Pettersson, a rookie, wound up with a concussion, and he will miss at least two games, Vancouver general manager Jim Benning told Sportsnet on Monday.
The NHL Department of Player Safety issued its decision after a hearing with Matheson.
In a video explaining the ruling, a league spokesman said, “What causes this incident to rise to the level of supplemental discipline is that it encompasses two separate and distinct acts. First, Matheson pins Pettersson to the boards in a legal and effective defensive maneuver. Then with the puck long separated from the area, and Pettersson unable to defend himself, Matheson drives him directly downward and into the ice with force, causing an injury.
“Matheson intentionally slammed Pettersson directly to the ice intentionally and dangerously. … This is not a hockey play.”
Matheson will lose $52,419.36 in salary due to the suspension, which will keep him out of games at Philadelphia on Tuesday and at Washington on Friday.
He will be eligible to return when the Panthers play host to the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.
Matheson, 24, has no points and four penalty minutes through three games this season. He is in his fourth year in the NHL, all with Florida.
Matheson was drafted by the Panthers in the first round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
In 2017, the Panthers signed Matheson to an eight-year, $39 million contract extension worth $4.875 million annually.
Pettersson, 19, has five goals and three assists through his first five NHL games.
He was the fifth overall pick in 2017 draft from Sweden.