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Canadiens’ Domi suspended for preseason for punching Ekblad

September 20, 2018
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Montreal Canadiens' Max Domi is pulled away by linesman Ryan Daisy after a brief fight with Florida Panthers' Aaron Ekblad during the third period of an NHL hockey preseason game Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018, in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Montreal Canadiens forward Max Domi has been suspended for the remainder of the NHL preseason after punching Florida defenseman Aaron Ekblad during an exhibition game.

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety made the announcement Thursday following an afternoon hearing with Domi.

The punch came at the start of the third period of Wednesday’s preseason game. Domi began tugging on Ekblad’s shirt, asking him to fight. With the Panthers star showing no interest to drop the gloves, Domi punched him in the face twice, but still Ekblad didn’t respond.

Domi then dropped his right glove and sucker-punched him right on the nose, and the bloodied Ekblad dropped to the ice. Domi was given a minor, major and match penalty on the play.

Ekblad was taken off the ice and underwent the NHL’s concussion protocol, which he passed.

Domi, who was making his first appearance as a Canadien after coming to Montreal in an offseason trade that sent Alex Galchenyuk to Arizona, met with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety on Thursday.

He will be eligible to return when the Canadiens open the regular season in Toronto on Oct. 3.

The Canadiens were set to continue their preseason without Domi on Thursday night against Stanley Cup champion Washington in Quebec City.

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