The Department of Player Safety has suspended Vancouver Canucks defenceman Alexander Edler for two games for kneeing Toronto Maple Leafs forward Zach Hyman. Edler will miss Vancouver’s home games on Tuesday and Thursday and return for Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday. The news broke via the NHL Player Safety Twitter account on Monday.
Vancouver’s Alexander Edler has been suspended for two games for Kneeing Toronto’s Zach Hyman. https://t.co/zDysYWzulP
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) April 19, 2021
Alexander Edler Suspended Two Games
Edler’s infraction occurred in the second period of Vancouver’s Sunday night game against Toronto.
Initially, Leafs forward Zach Hyman stole the puck from Antoine Roussel at centre ice and attempted to deke it around Edler to gain the zone. As Hyman swerved to avoid the defenceman, Edler left a trailing leg that collided with Hyman’s knee, causing him to collapse to the ice in severe pain.
Zach Hyman is down
Knee-on-knee with Edler
Oh man… pic.twitter.com/sOZPPKd2nR
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 19, 2021
In the aftermath, Edler received a major penalty and a game misconduct, while Hyman left the game and did not return.
Later, the Canucks rallied back from 2-0 down to beat the Leafs, 3-2 in overtime. Bo Horvat‘s drive past Jack Campbell put the finishing touches on a triumphant return after an extended hiatus; it was Vancouver’s first game in 25 days, after a mass outbreak of COVID, which ravaged the organization.
What This Means Going Forward
First and foremost, Hyman’s long-term outlook is a major concern. The Leafs forward previously had surgery on the same knee to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament after he fell awkwardly during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Currently, there is no definitive timeline for his recovery. Sheldon Keefe said they will know more information soon.
This the fourth time in recent history that the NHL has suspended a player for kneeing. Mark Giordano and Dustin Brown received suspensions in 2018 for knee-on-knee hits; Taylor Hall was also punished for a similar offence in 2013.
In Edler’s case, the DOPS did not consider him to have a previous record because of his recent behaviour. Although he did receive three suspensions totalling six games in 2013, one of which was for kneeing Eric Staal in the Quarter Finals of the World Championships.
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