As the only NHL player with two match penalties this season, Evgeni Malkin understood why he incurred a one-game suspension for swinging his stick at Philadelphia’s Michael Raffl on Monday.
But that doesn’t mean Malkin liked it.
Or that he was OK with the events that preceded the incident.
Meeting with the media for the first time since the suspension — which Malkin served Wednesday — was levied, the Russian center accused Raffl of diving, targeting a neck injury that forced Malkin out of five games and blasted the Flyers for “doing [stuff] and running around” late in lopsided games.
“Yes and no,” Malkin responded when asked whether he agreed with the suspension. “One game probably, it’s OK. I play dangerous. My stick went high. My point [to the NHL Department of Player Safety] was that I didn’t touch his face. I touched his shoulder. I think he dove.”
It’s hard to say whether Malkin is right or wrong, and it doesn’t actually matter.
In explaining the suspension, the league said the result of the swing wasn’t a factor, only the intent. This, of course, is different than how the league normally adjudicates such things, where punishment is often based on injury.