Photo: NBC Sports Washington
The NHL announced on Thursday that St. Louis Blues’ defenseman Robert Bortuzzo is suspended for the rest of the preseason (two games) and the Blues’ season opener for his hit to the head on Washington Capitals’ defenseman Michal Kempny in the Capitals’ 4-0 win over the Blues on Tuesday at Enterprise Center.
St. Louis’ Robert Bortuzzo suspended for the remainder of the preseason and one regular season game for Elbowing Washington’s Michal Kempny. https://t.co/ZBPTS6Fkx5
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) September 27, 2018
The incident occurred 45 seconds into the third period of the game. Kempny was skating on the halfway while Bortuzzo was guarding him and Bortuzzo knocked him down a few moments after Kempny passed the puck across the ice with plenty of time to avoid the hit.
ICYMI: Here’s the Michal Kempny injury last night.. Happened on #Caps 3rd goal.. Certainly looked like a high hit by Robert Bortuzzo.. Kempny was smiling as he skated off.. Hope that means he’s ok.. #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/i8KQjecSFH
— Rob Carlin (@RobCarlinNBCS) September 26, 2018
The hit was high and was near the head. Kempny would leave the game with an upper-body injury and would not return. Capitals’ head coach Todd Reirden said that Kempny is day-to-day but could be ready for the team’s season opener against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday.
After being acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a 2018 third-round draft pick, he tallied two goals, three assists in 24 games with the Capitals during the regular season. He was a +1 during the regular season with the Capitals. Kempny recorded three goals and 10 points along with a +14 rating in 53 games with the Capitals and Blackhawks in 2017-18. In 24 playoff games, he tallied two goals and five points. Kempny was also a +1 during the playoffs.
Kempny signed a four-year contract with the Capitals on June 29, two days before he was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent.
He found a home alongside defenseman John Carlson, who also signed a new contract extension over the summer, last season and fit in perfectly with the 28-year old defenseman. The two made up Washington’s top shutdown pair during the playoffs.
The Capitals have two more preseason games before opening the regular season next Wednesday against the Boston Bruins, including a home date against the Blues on Sunday.
Bortuzzo, 29, has been suspended once previously in his career for interference in 2014 when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He got a two-game suspension for the hit. He was also fined for crosschecking at the end of last season.
From NHL Release
NEW YORK – St. Louis Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo has been suspended for the remainder of the preseason and one regular-season game, without pay, for elbowing Washington Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny during NHL Preseason Game No. 73 in St. Louis on Tuesday, Sept. 25, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.
The incident occurred at 0:45 of the third period.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Bortuzzo will forfeit $6,182.80. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
By Harrison Brown