Ottawa Senators defenseman Matt Carkner has been suspended for one game, Game 3 of Ottawa's Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series with the New York Rangers, for instigating a fight against an unwilling Brian Boyle. NHL Department of Player Safety representative Brendan Shanahan made the decision on Sunday, and explained it in a video.
Carkner threw two punches to Boyle's jaw, the second dropping him to the ice, and then continued to wail on Boyle after he fell. The altercation was retribution for aggression by the Rangers in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series, but Shanahan noted that that alone was not enough to justify Carkner's actions.
"While we understand any player's desire to protect a teammate, and have seen some examples in these playoffs in which a player has done that," Shanahan said, "Carkner is excessive in his approach." He also cited a previous incident in which Carkner was fined for a previous act of aggression that caused an injury in a factor in the NHL Department of Player Safety's decision.