The NHL has released a statement on the incident that occurred between Colorado forward Nathan MacKinnon and an on-ice official during the third period of Monday night’s game between the Avalanche and the Boston Bruins.
Immediately following a face-off, MacKinnon swung his stick in frustration and struck a nearby linesman in the leg. Video of the incident began circling on Twitter shortly thereafter, with many believing that MacKinnon struck the linesman on purpose.
According to the NHL, however, that is not the case.
“We immediately investigated the incident, and, having conferred with the on-ice officiating crew and the NHL Officials’ Organization, it has been determined that the player’s intention was not to strike the official but, rather, to initiate contact with an opposing player,” the league said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Given this conclusion, it has been determined that no further discipline is necessary”
This is the second time in the past seven days that MacKinnon has flirted with a possible suspension.
On Feb. 16, MacKinnon found himself in hot water for a hit that he laid on Vegas’ Nolan Patrick, which saw MacKinnon’s shoulder connect with the head of Patrick at full speed long after the Golden Knights forward had relinquished possession of the puck.
MacKinnon managed to evade any supplemental discipline for the hit at the time, while Patrick left the game shortly after staying down on the ice in pain and has not played since. It’s worth noting that Patrick has a history of concussions and migraines that have threatened his career for the past several years.
On both occasions, MacKinnon was not given a penalty for the incidental contact.