Max Domi made quite a first impression with the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night, earning himself a match penalty and an ejection for punching Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad in the face.
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety immediately scheduled a disciplinary hearing for him on Thursday, indicating there would almost certainly be some supplementary discipline to follow. And there was. It’s also probably going to seem underwhelming.
The NHL announced on Thursday that Domi has been suspended for the remainder of the preseason (the Canadiens have five preseason games left). He will not miss any regular season games as a result of the suspension, and because the punishment involves only exhibition games, he will also not lose any salary.
Here is the NHL’s video explanation of the play, which makes repeated reference to the fact that Ekblad was an unwilling combatant, showed no interest in fighting, and was forcefully hit in the face with a bare-knuckle punch from Domi.
This, obviously, is not any kind of a meaningful punishment. The strongest thing that can be said about this is that Domi, being a new acquisition for the Canadiens and for the time being is their top center, will miss out on developing chemistry or getting meaningful practice minutes with his new team. But Domi wasn’t likely to play in all of the Canadiens’ remaining exhibition games anyway (few, if any, players actually play in all of them).
As it stands now, he will be back in the lineup on opening night Oct. 3 when the Canadiens visit Toronto to play the Maple Leafs