Oilers Hendricks suspended 3 games for hit on Ekblad

Matt Hendricks #23 of the Edmonton Oilers lands a big hit on Aaron Ekblad #5 of the Florida Panthers on January 10, 2016 at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Andy Devlin, Getty Images

NEW YORK – Edmonton Oilers forward Matt Hendricks has been suspended three games for boarding Florida Panthers defenceman Aaron Ekblad.

The NHL’s department of player safety announced the suspension Monday night.

The incident occurred during the third period of the Panthers’ 2-1 victory in Edmonton on Sunday. The 19-year-old Ekblad was going back for a loose puck behind the Florida net 2:12 into the third when he was nailed by Hendricks.

Ekblad initially had trouble getting to his feet and went to the locker-room, but returned to the game later in the period.

There was no penalty on the play for the hit, but Hendricks had a phone hearing with the NHL’s department of player safety on Monday.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Hendricks will forfeit $29,838.72. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

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Ekblad missed Florida’s game against the Vancouver Canucks on Monday with an upper-body injury he sustained from the hit. Panthers head coach Gerard Gallant said before the game that there’s no timetable for his return.

The first overall pick in 2014, Ekblad has nine goals and 10 assists in 42 games this season for Florida, which was going for its 13th straight victory on Monday.

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