NEW YORK (AP) — Edmonton Oilers All-Star Connor McDavid has been suspended two games for an illegal check to the head of the New York Islanders’ Nick Leddy during Edmonton’s 4-3 win on Thursday night.
McDavid stepped in front of Leddy as he tried to play the pick and hit the Islanders defenseman in the head with his shoulder.
“Obviously it was not a great check, not what I was trying to do. I was just trying to finish my check,” McDavid said after the game. “He stopped a little bit earlier than I thought and I maybe clipped him a little too high. That was obviously not the intent at all.”
McDavid, the league’s No. 3 scorer, will miss games against the Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators and forfeit $134,409 in salary while he serves the first suspension of his career.
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Friday’s suspension occurs with the Oilers sitting eight points out of a playoff spot. They will have 20 games remaining when he returns.
“We are highly disappointed in the NHL’s decision to suspend Connor McDavid for two games,” Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson said in a statement. “We strongly disagree with the decision & it is difficult to accept for our team & most important our fans at this critical point in our season. We will unequivocally support Connor as he explores his options.”
McDavid, 22, the league MVP in 2016-17 and a three-time All-Star, ranks third in the NHL with 85 points (32 goals, 53 assists) this season. He will miss games against the Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators.