Vancouver Canucks forward Zack Kassian has been suspended eight games for slashing Edmonton Oilers forward Sam Gagner in the face, the NHL Department of Player Safety announced on Monday night. Kassian will be required to sit for the Canucks three remaining exhibition games, as well as the first five regular season games of 2013-14.
The incident occurred at the 18:33 mark of the second period as Gagner was attempting an outlet pass from the Edmonton defensive zone. Kassian lined up to hit Gagner, but the Edmonton forward stopped in an attempt to avoid the collision. Kassian still attempted to impede Gagner's process and turned his body, with his stick swinging upwards.
The result was Kassian's stick striking Gagner in the face and breaking his jaw.
The Department of Player Safety ruled that Kassian needed to be more aware of his stick's movement and that while he did not intend to do harm, he was reckless with his decision.
Kassian will forfeit $22,500 over the course of the suspension, which will go to the Player's Emergency Relief Fund.
Gagner will undergo surgery on Tuesday and will be out for an indefinite period of time.
Thank you all for the support. Excited to come back stronger and hopefully better looking than a few days ago. pic.twitter.com/jyU91TMSuu— Sam Gagner (@89SGagner) September 24, 2013
In addition, the Department of Player Safety also announced that Vancouver forward Dale Weise has been suspended for the remainder of the preseason for executing an illegal hit on Edmonton forward Taylor Hall.
Edmonton has expressed all summer that they hope to get tougher. On Monday, the team claimed forward Steve McIntyre off waivers in an attempt to do so.