Published 10: 46 PM EST Feb 13, 2020
The NHL has had a handful of players injured this season when they were accidentally cut by skates.
But Thursday night, Edmonton Oilers forward Zack Kassian pushed Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak in the chest with his skate.
“He kicked me when he was on the ice,” Cernak, who wasn’t hurt, told reporters. “I think he was a little mad at me.”
The incident occurred late in the first period. Kassian checked Cernak near the blue line. Oilers forward Josh Archibald then lost his balance and knocked over both two players.
Cernak held the two Oilers down and Kassian, after talking to him, pushed his skate into the Lightning defenseman’s chest before getting up.
No penalty was called on the play.
“He was holding my leg. It was just reactionary,” Kassian said, according to Sportsnet. “I was just trying to get him off me, kick him off me. I was just trying to get my foot loose.”
He added: “If I kicked him hard, he would have flew back, or the ref would have called a penalty.”
NHL players have lots of padding on their chest, so Cernak was fine. He took a brief look at Kassian and both continued to play.
“I asked him what was wrong with him because that’s not the right play to do on the ice,” Cernak said. “He didn’t say nothing, so I don’t know.”
Kassian was suspended in January for two games for instigating a fight against the Calgary Flames’ Matthew Tkachuk after objecting to a couple hits from the forward.
In his first game back, he and Tkachuk fought again.
Kassian has a career-best 30 points and recently signed a four-year, $12.8 million extension.
NHL players who were injured by skate cuts this season include the New York Islanders’ Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck, Los Angeles Kings’ Alec Martinez, Toronto Maple Leafs’ Ilya Mikheyev and Detroit Red Wings’ Brendan Perlini.