San Jose Sharks forward Joe Thornton has been suspended one game for his check to the head of Vegas Golden Knights winger Tomas Nosek.
The incident took place in the second period of Game Three, with Vegas already leading the contest 4-1. The Golden Knights eventually took the game by a final score of 6-3, grabbing a 2-1 series lead over the Sharks.
Thornton was given a two minute minor penalty on the play.
Nosek returned to action later in the game.
The hit could be described as atypical for Thornton, a veteran player who’s more than used to physical hockey – presumably from all sides.
“Honestly, I thought I barely touched him. He came right back. It’s just one of those plays,” Thornton said. “I think my son hits me like that six times a day, it’s just a weird position he put himself in. That’s all.”
The Nosek hit and ensuing chirping is all part and parcel for the series against Vegas, which is taking on a rough and tumble tone all its own. The incident led to a scrap between Evander Kane and Ryan Reaves late in the game, which subsequently led to the Golden Knight taking a few more shots off-ice at the now-suspended Thornton.
“I’ve got a buddy with a grandpa who’s going through the same thing,” Reaves told reporters after Game Three. “He can’t really see very well because he’s getting old. Get some glasses or something. I don’t know. If he gets suspended, it’s going to be hard for him to see up top [from the press box].”
The series between Vegas and San Jose is part of a renewed – and scorching – rivalry that originated when the two clubs met in the second round last year. The Golden Knights won that series 4-2 and is positioned well this time around.
Game Four goes Tuesday in Vegas.
(Photo credit: NHL.com)