ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Canes forward Nathan Gerbe said Thursday he has put the Michael Grabner hit behind him. Nor, he said, does he have any lingering resentment for the New York Islanders forward.
Grabner delivered a hit to Gerbe’s head during Saturday’s game at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y. No penalty was called on the play and Gerbe stayed in the game, but the NHL handed Grabner a two-game suspension this week.
“It’s a tough position to be in,” Gerbe said. “You’ve got guys cutting across and I was trying to get a shot off. Obviously I didn’t see him coming or I would have braced for it.
“He’s not a dirty player, I know that. We talked on the ice after that and he apologized. You can’t target people’s heads but I know it’s not his intent to do that.”
Gerbe’s comments were made a day after John Scott of the Buffalo Sabres blindsided Loui Eriksson of the Boston Bruins, knocking Eriksson out of the game with a hit to the head. Scott has been suspended indefinitely by the NHL, The Associated Press reported Thursday.
The Sabres’ Patrick Kaleta received a 10-game suspension for a hit to the head on Jack Johnson of the Columbus Blue Jackets in an Oct. 10 game. Kaleta appealed the suspension but it was upheld Thursday by commissioner Gary Bettman.
“Those are the kind of hits (the NHL) wants to be tough on,” Gerbe said. “They’re trying to get that out of the game as much as they can.
“It’s on the players. You’ve got to be smart. At points in every game you’re vulnerable to be hit. Someone didn’t take that chance on you and you shouldn’t take that chance on someone else. The players have to respect each other more. I wish we could end it.”