The Department of Player Safety has suspended Vegas Golden Knights forward Chandler Stephenson for three games. Stephenson elbowed defenceman Tobias Bjornfot during Vegas’ 4-2 defeat to the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday.
Vegas’ Chandler Stephenson has been suspended for three games for Elbowing Los Angeles’ Tobias Bjornfot. https://t.co/Vqjykvi5Zk
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) April 1, 2021
Chandler Stephenson Suspended For Elbowing
The incident took place at the end of the second period. Bjornfot was skating towards the corner in the defensive zone to retrieve a dump-in while being pursued by Stephenson on the forecheck. Winning the race to the puck, the Kings defenceman played the puck around the boards before turning in the opposite direction to head up ice. At this point, Stephenson decided to finish his check and delivered a vicious elbow to the head.
On impact, Bjornfot’s head struck the boards and he collapsed in a heap. As a result of the play, the referees assessed Stephenson a major penalty and a game misconduct. Bjornfort was taken to the locker room after the hit and did not return to the game.
Chandler Stephenson has played a role as a regular depth contributor this season. He has seven goals and 20 points and tops all forwards on the Golden Knights in blocked shots (23).
Vegas Downmanned Against Minnesota on Thursday
Vegas suffered the consequences of Stephenson’s suspension in a rather peculiar way. Before their Thursday night game, the team submitted a roster of only 18 players. As it turned out, Stephenson’s ban meant that Vegas could only play 16 skaters (and two goalies) against the Minnesota Wild due to their cap constraints. Right now the Golden Knights are really up against it to remain cap compliant. They dressed only 17 skaters the night before against the Kings. However, the situation could have been worse.
So @GoldenKnights playing with 16 skaters, 2 goalies tonight. Dylan Coghlan recalled on Roster Emergency Exception. VGK can get to 18-2 on Saturday using that clause. This is the 51st time a team has played short in salary cap era. New Jersey has done it nine times. 8-1 mark.
— gary lawless (@garylawless) April 2, 2021
Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud suffered an upper-body injury on Wednesday and was ruled out of the Minnesota game. Fortunately, Vegas managed to exercise a Roster Emergency Exception to recall Dylan Coghlan in order to avoid further shortages.
Whitecloud is day-to-day. He has eight points, 49 blocks and 51 hits in 34 games.
Main Photo: DALLAS, TEXAS – DECEMBER 13: Chandler Stephenson #20 of the Vegas Golden Knights shoots the puck to score a goal against the Dallas Stars in the second period at American Airlines Center on December 13, 2019, in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)