Buffalo Sabres goaltender Aaron Dell got a three-game suspension from the NHL on Wednesday for interfering with Ottawa Senators forward Drake Batherson during Tuesday’s game. Batherson, a first-time NHL All-Star, sustained an ankle injury on the play and will miss next week’s festivities in Las Vegas as a result.
The play occurred late in the first period with Ottawa already leading 3-0 in an eventual 5-0 home victory. Dell left the puck behind the net for a teammate with Batherson trailing, and as an unsuspecting Batherson turned the corner Dell bodychecked him into the boards. Batherson, who tied his single-season high in points (34) this year in 25 fewer games, reportedly has a high ankle sprain and is out long term.
Ottawa coach DJ Smith and Batherson’s teammates rallied to his defense after the game, with Smith calling the play “bad” and Tyler Ennis saying it was “pretty dirty.” Brady Tkachuk said it “sucks” while Marc Methot described Dell’s actions as “stupid.”
“I don’t like calling out other goalies, but they’re not expecting to get hit by a goalie. Just like when a goalie comes out to play the puck, you can’t hit him,” Ottawa goaltender Matt Murray said after the game. “I just thought that was a dangerous play that turns out to be a really unfortunate result.”
This is the first suspension of Dell’s six-year, 126-game career. The 32-year-old will miss road games against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday, the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday and the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday while serving it.
The 23-year-old Batherson, meanwhile, could reportedly miss “several weeks” while tending to his ankle injury.