Already missing some key forwards, the Vancouver Canucks will now be without defenceman Alex Edler for the next two games. Edler was handed a two-game suspension early Friday night by former defenceman Rob Blake, who now works in the NHL's operations department, for his hit on Phoenix goalie Mike Smith on Thursday night. Edler collided with Smith behind the Phoenix net late in the second period while Smith was attempting to play the puck. Edler received a five-minute major for charging. "While we agree Edler had no malicious intent on this play we believe he does not make any effort to minimize or avoid contact," Blake said in the video released by the NHL to explain its ruling (see video below). Canucks management declined interview requests, but general manager Mike Gillis issued the following statement: "As an organization we respect the NHL and its process for supplemental discipline. While we may not agree with this ruling, we will move forward and prepare for our important game tomorrow in Los Angeles. We do not intend to comment further on this matter." Edler will miss Saturday afternoon's game in Los Angeles against the Kings (1 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific, Team 1040) and Sunday night's game in Denver vs. the Colorado Avalanche. He will forfeit $35,135 in salary. "Rather than attempt to minimize or avoid contact, Edler takes a direct route through Smith making contact with his head," Blake said in the video. "This is charging against a goaltender. As it is defined by Rule 42, a goalkeeper is not fair game just because he is outside the goal crease area." Blake noted that incidental contact at the discretion of the referee is permitted when the goalkeeper is in the act of playing the puck outside his goal crease "providing the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact."
Canucks' Alex Edler slapped with two-game suspension for hit on Mike Smith
Vancouver Sun | Mar 22