The Department of Player Safety came to a decision on Alexander Edler following his phone hearing, issuing a two-game suspension to the Vancouver Canucks defenseman. Edler’s ban comes for a kneeing incident in Sunday night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, which resulted in an injury to Zach Hyman. As the accompanying video explains:
It is important to note that it is not the evasive move that causes unavoidable knee-on-knee contact through no fault of Edler’s. Edler approaches Hyman with a wide base, which is common as part of a natural hitting motion. When Hyman makes his move, Edler has the option to make a full adjustment of his entire body and attempt a full body check, or to maintain his current course and attempt to slow Hyman down in some other fashion. Instead, fatigued after a long shift, Edler only adjusts his right leg, turning his right foot outward to extend his leg further. While this movement is slight, it insures that leg on leg contact will occur and ultimately means that Edler drives his knee directly into the knee of Hyman with force.
Edler received a major penalty and game misconduct on the play and will have to sit out two games as well. The Maple Leafs have not yet issued an update on Hyman’s status.
Though it cannot be considered in this instance, this isn’t the first time Edler has received a suspension for kneeing. While playing at the 2013 World Championships for Sweden, he was kicked out of the tournament for a knee-on-knee hit against Canada’s Eric Staal. He has also been suspended twice in his NHL career but not since the 2013-14 season.
Edler only just returned along with the rest of the Canucks from a weeks-long layoff thanks to a COVID outbreak. They’ll now have to navigate the next two games–Tuesday against the Maple Leafs and Thursday against Ottawa–without one of their key defenders and a player who logs heavy minutes on a regular basis.