Columbus Blue Jackets forward Derek MacKenzie was hit with a three-game suspension for his hit from behind on Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The suspension is the first of MacKenzie's 11-year NHL career, as the 32-year-old grinder isn't known for dirty hits.
Representative of the NHL's Department of Player Safety Patrick Burke explained that this hit was suspension-worthy due to the fact that Ekman-Larsson made no sudden changes of positioning, meaning that MacKenzie saw numbers the whole way and he finished with significant force anyway.
Also noted was that Ekman-Larsson suffered an apparent injury on the play, and didn't return to the game after the hit.
Even noting these factors, there doesn't seem to be anything particularly vicious about the hit, and while it's definitely deserving of a suspension, three games seems a little bit harsh for a first-time offender when you consider that Joffrey Lupul, a repeat offender, got away with an attempted decapitation during the Winter Classic with just a $10,000 fine.