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article imageZach Kassian gets rest of preseason and 5 games for hit on Gagner

By Marcus Hondro     Sep 23, 2013 in Sports
Vancouver Canuck Zach Kassian had a 10 minute phone talk with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan on Monday and the result was a 5 game regular season suspension. Kassian's stick hit Oiler Sam Gagner and broke his jaw in Edmonton Sunday.
Kassian went on record as saying the hit was a result of missing the check when Gagner stopped. "I had no intention of slashing him in the face," Kassian said Monday after his hearing. "It was definitely accidental and hopefully he gets back sooner than later."
Kassian gets 5 for accidental hit
Kassian also misses the final 3 preseason games for the hit, which did indeed look to be an accident. Some critics will look at Matt Cooke's destruction of Eric Karlsson's leg last season that put Karlsson out most of the season and went unpunished and find this suspension unwarranted by comparison.
Cooke, who ended Marc Savard's career with a vicious elbow to the head in 2010 that also went unpunished, kicked Karlsson with his skate. In that instance gravity did not seem to force the issue and there seemed no reason why the skate came up and down as it did, other than malice.
In the case of Kassian, he went to hit Gagner and the Oilers center saw it coming and stopped in time. Kassian was turning to put his shoulder into the hit and then fell into the boards and the force swung his arm around and his stick hit Gagner.
No word from the Canucks if there will be an appeal. Kassian will miss tonight's home preseason game against the Phoenix Coyotes.
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