Sharks center and alternate captain Joe Thornton has been suspended one game for his illegal check to the head on Golden Knights winger Tomas Nosek in Sunday's Game 3 of the Western Conference series.
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"It's important to note that the head is clearly the main point of contact on this hit, and that the head contact is avoidable", the NHL's department of player safety said in a video announcing Thornton's suspension.
The Golden Knights felt otherwise about the hit in the second period of a 6-3 victory that gave them a 2-1 series lead. Thornton is a key veteran piece for the Sharks and finished the regular season with 14 goals and 51 points. "He came right back".
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Vegas' Ryan Reaves had other thoughts about it, comparing Thornton to a friend's grandpa who needs glasses because he can't see very well.
While Thornton doesn't have a history of questionable hits or suspensions, the National Hockey League doesn't take hits to the head lightly, even with postseason implications at stake. It's to the head.
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This is the second time Thornton has been suspended in his National Hockey League career. He has a goal and two assists in three playoff games this year.