Flyers' Harry Zolnierczyk suspended four games for charging

By Brian Stubits |

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Philadelphia Flyers forward Harry Zolnierczyk was suspended by the NHL Department of Player Safety, receiving a four-game ban for his charging hit on Ottawa's Mike Lundin on Saturday.

The verdict came down on Sunday afternoon after Zolnierczyk had a hearing with Brendan Shanahan's office.

From Shanahan:

Instead of delivering a hard, legal check, he launches prior to the check making significant contact to Lundin's head. This is charging.

In all areas of the ice players still have the responsibility to keep their heads up and expect to be checked. But what no player should expect is that his opponent will launch upward, off the ice and into his head. It's important to note that though Lundin is bracing for the hit and trying to minimize its force by stopping, he does not significantly change his position prior to this illegal check.

Shanahan went on to note that Zolnierczyk left the ice before making contact instead of after, as many players do on a legal check. He was able to freeze the play just before the hit and show Zolnierczyk already into the air, thus the charging call.

Zolnierczyk didn't have any history with the NHL, but Lundin suffered a concussion on the hit according to the Senators and was unable to return. Add the injury and the incredibly dangerous play in open ice, and you have a stiff penalty for Harry Z.

Earlier last week, Zolnierczyk had a close call against the Capitals. He had a hit on Mathieu Perreault that was initially a kneeing major and a game misconduct, but the NHL did rescind the misconduct penalty after the game.

This season, Zolnierczyk has one assist in six games. He had been living a bit close to the line in those six games and, on Saturday, he crossed it.

Lundin has played in seven games this season for the Sens, filling in on a blue line that is without last year's Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson. They have been a team besieged by injuries, and this is just the latest.

As a result of the suspension, Zolnierczyk will also foreit $12,972.96 in salary.

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