Alex Edler has been suspended three times for a total of nine games in the last eight months, but says those punishments won’t alter his approach.
“I’m not going to change the way I play,” Edler told The Province on Friday. “I look at myself as a clean player and I try to play aggressive and that’s when I’m at my best.”
The 27-year-old defenseman is eligible to return from a three-game ban on Saturday against Pittsburgh, a suspension received following a headshot on Sharks rookie Tomas Hertl on Oct. 10.
The three-game punishment was made in part because Edler had a previous blemish on his disciplinary record — a two-game ban for charging Phoenix goalie Mike Smith in March.
But those weren’t all of Edler’s disciplinary problems.
The Swede was also punished in international play, getting four games for going knee-on-knee with Canada’s Eric Staal during the 2013 World Hockey Championships. Edler sat out the last two games of the tournament, then was dinged for two more following a secondary IIHF hearing.
Despite the three strikes on his record, Edler vows his game will go unchanged.
That’s music to the ears of his head coach.
“I would teach that play to all our defencemen,” John Tortorella said of the check Edler put on Hertl. “The one he was suspended on we’re teaching that.
“The league just happens to believe it’s suspendable.”