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Flames’ Martin Pospisil Suspended Three Games for Boarding Kraken’s Vince Dunn

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Post-game on Monday, head coach Dave Hakstol called Flames’ Martin Pospisil’s hit which injured Vince Dunn “garbage,” then asserted the league would take things over from there.

And the verdict is in: Wednesday evening the NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced Pospisil would be suspended three games for “boarding” Dunn, forfeiting $12,109.38 to the Player’s Emergency Assistance Fund. 

Thirteen minutes into the third period of Monday’s game at Calgary, the Kraken’s top defensive pair retreated behind their own net to fetch a loose puck and kickstart an exit. Adam Larsson passed the initial retrieval cross-ice to his partner, Dunn, pausing before he moved the puck again.

Before another pass could be made, Pospisil flew a distance of at least 25 feet to slam Dunn, unaware of what was coming, aggressively into the boards. The impact knocked Dunn to the ground and he immediately exited the game once he could stand.

Pospisil was originally granted a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the play, his second dangerous hit of the night. 

Boarding, resulting injury, and a lack of previous suspensions and fines were the key factors in the decision to suspend Pospisil, according to an explanation provided by DOPS. 

Notably, the position of Pospisil’s “right skate” as “between Dunn’s legs at the moment of impact” is the convicting element of the play, illustrating clearly his “angle of approach was always aligned to deliver this check through Dunn’s back.” Given that Pospisil had “time to make a different decision,” the responsibility was his to “avoid” or “minimize” the “impact of the hit.” Instead, failing to do so, he made the choice to “drive Dunn forcefully into the boards,” injuring him– cause for suspension.

No update on Dunn’s health was provided after the game nor prior to Tuesday’s game, which he missed in its entirety. Pospisil will miss Calgary’s upcoming games against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, and Carolina Hurricanes, all on the road.

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