Dmitry Kulikov Suspended 4 Games for Low Hit on Tyler Seguin

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIFebruary 16, 2015

DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 13:  Tyler Seguin #91 of the Dallas Stars falls to the ice after being hit by Dmitry Kulikov #7 of the Florida Panthers in the third period at American Airlines Center on February 13, 2015 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov has been suspended for four games by the NHL for an illegal clipping hit that injured Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin.    

NHL.com's player safety video channel announced the news on Monday, explaining in greater detail why Kulikov was assessed such a punishment:

The official Twitter account of NHL player safety provided more context as to how the disciplinary hearing unfolded:

Adam Proteau of The Hockey News weighed in on Kulikov's low blow:

TSN's Bob McKenzie highlighted how significant the knee injury to Seguin is:

Dallas coach Lindy Ruff was critical of Kulikov's conduct before Monday's suspension was announced.

"It's a play that I don't like,” said Ruff, via The Dallas Morning News' Mike Heika (h/t ProHockeyTalk.com's Dhiren Mahiban). "It's a dirty, low play that the league doesn't like, and I want to see the league deal with it. They took out one of the best players in the league, and it's something that has to be dealt with and I'll let them deal with it."

The Stars are still in the hunt for a Western Conference playoff berth. However, they will have to move forward without their top scorer in Seguin, who has 29 goals and 30 assists this season.

Based on the impact Seguin has in Dallas and how much of a blow it is to the club's postseason hopes, some will argue Kulikov deserved a more severe banishment.

Florida is in its own race for the playoffs in the East, though. Losing the talented, young Kulikov for four games is an adverse development that the Panthers will have to deal with.

For a Florida team that lacks offensive firepower, Kulikov's presence as a defender is extremely valuable. It will be interesting to see how the hit on Seguin impacts Kulikov's style of play moving forward.

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