Edmonton Oilers’ Patrick Maroon suspended 2 games for check to the head

Los Angeles Kings' Derek Forbort (24) and Edmonton Oilers' Patrick Maroon (19) fight during second period NHL action in Edmonton, Alta., on Tuesday January 2, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Edmonton Oilers left winger Patrick Maroon has been suspended two games for an illegal check to the head of Los Angeles Kings defenceman Drew Doughty.

It happened late in the second period of the Kings 5-0 victory over the Oilers Tuesday night at Rogers Place.

“It is important to note that Doughty never touches the puck, and therefore is never eligible to be checked on this play,” the NHL’s Department of Player Safety said in its explanation of the suspension on Wednesday.

“Honestly, I’m a big forward going in and doing my job,” Maroon said after the game. “Go in on the forecheck. My body was inward, my elbows didn’t come up — nothing came up. It’s just unfortunate that my follow through — my body kind of hit him in the head.”

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Maroon was given a match penalty on the play. Doughty went through the NHL’s concussion protocol and returned to the game early in the third period.

“I didn’t see it at all, he just got me right in the head. I didn’t even have the puck and that’s why I was so shocked by it,” Doughty said Tuesday evening. “But I’ve known Maroon for a long time and he’s just trying to finish a hit and I don’t know that he tried to hurt me or anything like that, so I forgive him and that’s that.”

It’s the first time Maroon has been suspended in his career.

The Oilers will host Anaheim on Thursday night.

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