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Zach Sill suspended two games for boarding Boston’s Adam McQuaid

Bruins center Patrice Bergeron wraps up Zach Sill after Sill hit defenseman Adam McQuaid (not pictured). (Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports)
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Update (6:40 p.m.): Zach Sill has been suspended for two games for boarding Adam McQuaid. In the NHL Department of Player Safety’s explanation, “McQuaid was never eligible to be checked by Sill” on the play.

“From the moment the two begin pursuing the puck, Sill sees nothing but McQuaid’s numbers,” an NHL spokesman said in the video. “While McQuaid does shift his body slightly before impact, this motion does not suddenly turn a legal hit into an illegal hit.

“While we accept Sill’s explanation that he anticipated McQuaid moving the puck up the ice, the onus here is on Sill to ensure that he can deliver this hit in a legal fashion. If not, he must avoid this hit entirely, or at the very least, minimize the force.”

This is the first NHL suspension of Sill’s career.

Original Post:

BOSTON – Washington Capitals forward Zach Sill will have a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety for boarding Boston’s Adam McQuaid in Tuesday night’s game, and he could face suspension and/or a fine. The hearing will be at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon and will be over the phone.

Here is Sill’s hit on McQuaid from the second period of the Capitals’ game at Boston:

A penalty wasn’t called, but McQuaid had to be helped off the ice and didn’t return to the game. After the game, Capitals Coach Barry Trotz called it a “hockey play.”

“When I saw the replay, that was just a hockey play,” Trotz said. “Unfortunately, McQuaid got hurt there, but that’s 100 percent a hockey play, and that was absolutely the right call on that.”

Said Boston’s Claude Julien: “Obviously for me there should have been a call there, but you know we’ll see how the league deems it. It was definitely a hit from behind in my book but we’ll let the other people take care of it, as always.”

Sill was recalled from the American Hockey League on Dec. 29, and as injuries have hit the Capitals at center, Sill has maintained his place in the lineup, playing fourth-line center on Tuesday night at Boston.

Were he to be suspended, the Capitals could re-assign Sill back to the AHL, but he wouldn’t be able to play another NHL game until he serves his suspension by being on an NHL roster for the number of games of the suspension. Sill doesn’t have a point in four games with the Capitals.

Boston center Patrice Bergeron told reporters he thought it was a “bad hit.” He and Sill had an exchange on the ice after.

“He was just telling me to get away, and he thought it was a good hit,” Bergeron said. “But there was no way possible that he could really believe that.”