Gonchar (upper body) addresses Clarkson hit: ‘Our game is rough enough’

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Habs defenseman Sergei Gonchar skated with teammates for the first time today since being knocked out of a game versus Toronto on Feb. 14, and discussed the incident that sidelined him — a hit from David Clarkson that netted the Leafs forward a game misconduct.

“The hit was from behind,” Gonchar said, per the Habs website. “Our game is rough enough, you don’t have to come up with such a hit.

“Maybe his excuse is that he didn’t see me turning at the last moment, but at the same time we should respect each other more and maybe slow down when you see somebody turning your back.”

Here’s the hit in question:

Gonchar, 40, has been a nice pickup for the Habs since coming over from Dallas in mid-November, scoring 12 points in 38 games while averaging 18:37 TOI per night. He said he’s approaching his return on a day-by-day basis and, while he was wearing a non-contract jersey on Monday, has been medically cleared.

With both Gonchar and Alexei Emelin out, Montreal has been going with a seven-man unit of P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov, Tom Gilbert, Mike Weaver, Nathan Beaulieu, Jarred Tinordi and Greg Pateryn.