Derek MacKenzie suspended 3 games for Ekman-Larsson hit

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Derek MacKenzie was suspended three games by the NHL on Friday for his hit from behind against Phoenix defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson on Thursday night.

Blue Jackets forward hit Coyotes D-man from behind

The Blue Jackets' Derek MacKenzie, left, fights with the Coyotes' Keith Yandle after knocking Phoenix defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson out of Thursday's game in the first period with a hit from behind. MacKenzie was suspended three games on Friday. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The new year has started on a bad note for Columbus Blue Jackets forward Derek MacKenzie.

The NHL on Friday suspended him three games for his hit hit from behind against Phoenix defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the first period of a 2-0 win the previous night.  The suspension will cost MacKenzie $15,385.

MacKenzie wasn’t penalized on the play but did spend five minutes in the penalty box after Phoenix defenceman Keith Yandle fought him after the Ekman-Larsson hit.

“He [Ekman-Larsson] actually got hit in Buffalo and we talked about if a guy gets hit like that, you’ve got to stick up for him,” Yandle told reporters after Thursday’s game. “I’m not really going to beat anybody up, but I thought I’d stick up for him. I know he’d do the same for me.”

Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett deemed Ekman-Larsson day to day with an upper-body injury. His shoulder appeared to be the first point of contact with MacKenzie.

The Swedish defenceman didn't return to the game and missed practice Friday.

Ekman-Larsson is fourth on the team and second among Phoenix defencemen with a plus-6 rating. The 22-year-old also has four goals, including a team-high three game-winners, and 22 points in 40 contests.

Sweden's Olympic team will be keeping an eye on the severity of the injury to the Karlskrona native as it has Ekman-Larsson slotted among the squad’s top-four rearguards for the Sochi Winter Games next month.

Click below to listen to NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan's explanation of the MacKenzie suspension.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.