The Florida Panthers have exceeded expectations this year thanks to the strong play of several key players, among them Dmitry Kulikov. The Panthers are just four points behind the Boston Bruins for that last wild card spot, and they've hit the point in the season where everything counts, everything matters.
Which is why this "hip check" gone wrong by Kulikov on Tyler Seguin is such a bad thing for the Cats:
Kulikov has been offered an in-person hearing with the NHL for the hit, which has hurt the Stars' playoff chances as well since Seguin will be out for between two weeks and a month. Since it's an in-person hearing, the suspension may be for longer than five games, which is impressive since Kulikov has never been called by the Department of Player Safety before. Regardless, his hands were on the ice, which makes me wonder if this was just more of a low shot than a screwed up hip check.
Note well, Panthers. If one of your star players nails a star from another team, he gets made an example of.
This is your morning open thread. Check back in a little bit for some Road Music and your GDT - remember, it's an early 4:00 puck drop today. At least it's not another 11:30 one. Sunday games against the Panthers are never going to be that early - when was the last time that Florida was featured on a national broadcast?
Also, don't forget to head to Litter Box Cats and say hi to Donny and the Crew. Them's good people.