Columbus Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert will miss a must-win Game 3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday for needlessly and violently cross checking an opponent in the final minutes of Friday night’s 4-1 loss.
The Penguins lead the best-of-seven playoff series 2-0.
It took a day for Calvert to learn his fate after the referee failed to properly penalize the 27-year-old for first breaking his stick on the arm of Tom Kuhnhackl before coming back to shove him to the ground in what the NHL deemed “not a hockey play.”
Kuhnhackl was not injured on the play, but that was not the only factor the NHL considered when determining the length of Calvert’s punishment.
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety explained Calvert’s violations in a two-minute video, noting it took into account the timing, location and “message sending.”
“Late in the game with the score out of reach, Calvert delivers this blow to an opponent that he will be facing again in the next game,” the NHL states in its video. “While we understand that frustration often occurs at the end of a game, dangerous or retaliatory plays delivered in the closing minutes of a playoff game will be viewed in context and punished accordingly.”
Calvert has not publicly commented on the incident or its aftermath.
While not one of the team’s leading scorers during the regular season — he racked up 10 goals and 15 points in 65 games — Calvert proved clutch in Game 1 when he scored the team’s only goal in a 3-1 loss.