Edmonton Oilers forward Zack Kassian was suspended seven games Friday for kicking an opponent in the chest with his skate.

The incident occurred late in the first period Thursday night. Kassian checked Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak, and Oilers forward Josh Archibald lost his balance and knocked over both. Cernak held the two Oilers down and Kassian pushed his skate into Cernak’s chest before getting up. NHL players have lots of padding on their chest, so Cernak wasn’t hurt.

“He was holding my leg. It was just reactionary,” Kassian said, . “I was just trying to get him off me, kick him off me. I was just trying to get my foot loose.”

The Department of Player Safety said Kassian’s argument “in no way justifies this action.”

“NHL players regularly become entangled

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