“Players frequently use their sticks to establish positioning, or to attempt to move their opponent away from the net. This is not such a play,” the DoPS explained. “In our opinion, Hoffman is attempting to deliver a high, forceful crosscheck to Couture.
“This is not a hockey play.”
Hoffman received a five-minute major and game misconduct for the incident. Couture, who left the game and didn’t return, told the Mercury News he hoped Hoffman would be suspended.
The DoPS went on to explain that it recognized Hoffman’s claim that his stick “rode” up Brendon Dillion’s just prior to hitting Couture, but added that “ultimately, players are responsible for their sticks at all times.”
Hoffman will now sit out both of this weekend’s games — Ottawa hosts New Jersey on Saturday, and takes on the Isles in Brooklyn on Sunday. He will also forfeit $57,638.88 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.