Canucks' Kassian suspended 5 regular-season games
Forward also banned rest of pre-season, along with teammate Dale Weise
Vancouver Canucks forward Zack Kassian likely wishes he had kept his stick on the ice on Saturday night.
Kassian was suspended Monday for the rest of the pre-season and the first five games of the regular season for a high-sticking incident against Edmonton that left Oilers centre Sam Gagner with a broken jaw.
The NHL's department of players safety announced the move in a press release.
The infraction occurred at 18:33 of the second period of the Oilers' 5-2 win on Saturday night. Gagner is expected to be out indefinitely, according to the team. Kassian, 22, received a double-minor on the play, which knocked several of Gagner's teeth out when the pair collided.
"As he nears the boards Kassian comes to a spinning stop, recklessly swinging his stick and striking Gagner in the face and breaking his jaw," NHL director of player safety Brendan Shanahan said in a video explanation. "While we accept Kassian's assertion that he did not intend to strike Gagner in the face, he is however responsible for the consequences of swinging his stick in this instance. In summary, this was high sticking."
Under the terms of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the six-foot-three, 214-pound native of Windsor, Ont., will forfeit $22,500 US in salary, all of which will go to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.
Also suspended was Canucks forward Dale Weise, who was banned for the rest of the pre-season for a hit to the head of Edmonton's Taylor Hall at 6:52 of the first period of the same game. Weise received a minor penalty on the play.
"As Hall comes out of the corner with the puck Weise comes down and delivers a shoulder check directly to the head of Hall," said Shanahan. "Weise does not hit Hall squarely through the body and the head is the main point of contact."
Hall remained in the game and showed no apparent injury.
Vancouver has three pre-season tilts left and begins its 2013-14 campaign on Oct. 3 against the San Jose Sharks. Kassian will be eligible to return Oct. 12 against the Montreal Canadiens on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 10 p.m. ET).
With files from The Canadian Press