Blackhawks' Niklas Hjalmarsson suspended for season opener


Niklas Hjalmarsson was suspended the final two preseason games, as well as the regular-season opener, for his hit on St. Louis’ Ty Rattie in Saturday night’s game.

Hjalmarsson was assessed a match penalty for the hit, which came with 1:05 remaining in regulation of the Blackhawks’ 4-0 victory over the Blues. In the NHL Department of Player Safety’s video explanation, it is noted that, “approaching with speed, Hjalmarsson launches up and into [Rattie’s] head, making significant contact with Rattie’s head.”

“Both players are low and in an athletic position. But rather than staying low and delivering hit to Rattie’s shoulder or chest, Hjalmarsson launches up, making substantial contact with his head.”

Hjalmarsson will also forfeit $22,777.78, which goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

This is the second time Hjalmarsson has been suspended in his career. He received a two-game suspension for his hit on Jason Pominville, then with Buffalo, in October 2010.

The Blackhawks face Detroit on Tuesday and St. Louis on Saturday to wrap up the preseason. They host the Blues in the regular-season opener on Oct. 12.

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