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Matt Hendricks Suspended for Hit on Aaron Ekblad: Latest Details and Reaction

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 17:  Matt Hendricks #23 of the Edmonton Oilers tries to control the puck from one knee against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on December 17, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Oilers 4-0.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Mike NorrisFeatured ColumnistJanuary 11, 2016

Edmonton Oilers left winger Matt Hendricks was suspended three games by the NHL on Monday for boarding Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad with this hit Sunday, as shared by NHL Player Safety:

The suspension, a first for Hendricks in his 444-game career, will cost him $29,838.72, per Chris Johnston of Sportsnet. 

As explained in the video, the "forceful" hit caused a "dangerous and violent collision with the boards," and "at no point [was] Ekblad eligible to be checked by Hendricks on [the] play" because he made "no sudden movements just prior to or simultaneous with contact."    

The final explanation is the main reason the hit was considered illegal.    

Ekblad suffered an upper-body injury on the play, missed Monday night's game against the Vancouver Canucks and is out indefinitely, per the Canadian Press (via NHL.com).

If Hendricks serves the suspension without appealing, he will return at an interesting time, per Tim Micallef of Sportsnet:

The Oilers can't afford any setbacks at this point, considering they have the third-fewest points in the league. On the other hand, Ekblad and the Panthers sit atop the Atlantic Division with 56 points.

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