Islanders' Ross Johnston suspended three games for hit on Devils' A.J. Greer
In what's become a frustrating trend for the organization and its fans, things have again gone from bad to worse for the New York Islanders.
Days after Islanders coach Barry Trotz and defenseman Ryan Pulock entered the NHL's COVID-19 protocol, New York forward Ross Johnston delivered a questionable hit on New Jersey Devils forward A.J. Greer during the first period of Thursday's game that the Isles won 3-2:
Johnston was assessed a minor penalty, but the Department of Player Safety dropped the hammer down Friday and suspended him for three games without pay for an illegal check to the head.
"It is important to note that the head is the main point of contact on this hit as Johnston’s shoulder makes clear, forceful contact with the head of Greer, and the head absorbs the brunt of the force from the check," the league explained in an accompanying video, according to Gavin Lee of Pro Hockey Rumors. "Further, the head contact on this play is avoidable.
"Greer’s head remains on a level and consistent plane throughout the play and he does not adjust his speed suddenly. While Greer does pivot when he collects the puck and moves his body as he shoots the puck, this movement does not happen immediately prior to or simultaneous with the hit in a way that significantly contributes to the head being the main point of contact."
Johnston is not a repeat offender, but the fact that Greer suffered an injury as a result of the incident played a factor in the league's ruling. Per the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, Johnston is docked $15,000. That cash goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.
Johnston’s ban begins with Saturday's home matchup against the Washington Capitals.