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Coyotes’ Josh Archibald suspended two games by NHL Player Safety

The NHL Department of Player Safety announced Friday that it has suspended Arizona Coyotes forward Josh Archibald for two games for a penalty he committed Thursday night.

During the second period of the Coyotes’ 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Thursday, Archibald skated toward Preds forward Ryan Hartman, who was passing the puck away from the boards near the blue line. Archibald went for a hit on Hartman, but hit him with his shoulder to Hartman’s face. Hartman went down and play stopped, but he eventually returned to the game.

Archibald was called for a two-minute minor penalty for an illegal check to the head.

A video from the Department of Player Safety explained the conclusion that Archibald’s hit on Hartman made the head the principal point of contact, and that such contact was avoidable. It was also noted that Hartman’s head did not change positions at the last moment.

“If Archibald wishes to deliver this hit, he must take an angle of approach that hits through Hartman’s core, rather than picking the head and making it the main point of contact,” the speaker in the video said.

Archibald has never been fined or suspended in his NHL career.

According to the league’s collective bargaining agreement, the league will initially conduct a preliminary review of incidents such as these to determine which course of action to take among the following options: no player discipline; a disciplinary fine; a suspension of five games or fewer; or a suspension of six or more games.

In instances where a player is set to receive a fine or a suspension of five games or fewer, that player is entitled to a phone hearing with player safety. For suspensions greater than five games in length, players have the right to an in-person hearing.

NHL Player Safety had announced earlier Friday that Archibald would have a hearing with the department that day.

The NHL Players Association may file an appeal with the league for supplemental discipline.

Factors that determine discipline include the following: whether the player’s actions were against playing rules, whether the behavior was intentional or reckless, whether the player used excessive force, whether another player was injured in the incident, whether the player is a repeat offender, and other factors as necessary.

Archibald this year has played in nine games and has not scored a point, averaging 11:33 of time on ice. He played Thursday while fellow forward Dylan Strome was a healthy scratch, so it’s likely that while Archibald misses time, Strome would slot back into the lineup.

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