The post-assault apology was appreciated by his victim, but it didn't earn Douglas Murray any leniency from the NHL's Department of Player Safety. The DoPS cops dinged the Montreal Canadiens defenseman three games for his ridiculous head shot on Tampa Bay's Mike Kostka on Tuesday night.
Kostka was concussed by the hit and has no return date in sight. Both factors played into the ruling. According to Lightning beat writer Missy Zielinski, it took Kostka 20 minutes to realize what was going on around him and he had no recollection of the hit.
He did, however, appreciate Murray's apology. "Classy move," Kostka said. "I don't think he had malicious intent, but ... it was a pretty nasty scary looking hit. I'm thankful I'm standing today."
No kidding. Murray was caught flat-footed on the play and reacted by launching his forearm directly at Kostka's head. He ultimately made contact with his upper arm and shoulder, but that was enough to do some serious damage. Three games is becoming something of a standard for this type of hit, so no one's going to complain. Still, you watch the impact on Kostka and, factoring in how reckless Murray was, its easy to make an argument for four or five. Murray is eligible to return on April 10 when the Habs face the Islanders. In the meantime, he'll hand over more than $23,000 to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.