In his first public comments since being suspended by the NHL for slew-footing Matt Niskanen, Ducks forward Evgeny Artyukhin apologized Friday for causing injury to the Dallas defenseman.
“I didn’t trip him. I didn’t want to kill him. I want to apologize to this guy. I hope he’s going to come back soon,” Artyukhin said after practice Friday.
Because he’s been suspended by the league before, Artyukhin must miss three games beginning Saturday against Columbus. Though he and his agent chose not to appeal the suspension, Artyukhin questioned the ruling.
“My foot both were on the ice. I didn’t kick him. My foot stayed on the ice,” he said. “I just used my body, like, my upper body.”
Slew-footing is defined under Rule 52.1 of the official NHL rulebook as “the act of a player or goalkeeper using his leg or foot to knock or kick an opponent’s feet from under him, or pushes an opponent’s upper body backward with an arm or elbow, and at the same time with a forward motion of his leg, knocks or kicks the opponent’s feet from under him, causing him to fall violently to the ice.”
The video of the incident is somewhat obstructed by the side boards, but it was enough to garner a suspension upon review by the league. Niskanen suffered a head injury — unofficially reported to be a concussion — and is day-to-day.
“I didn’t think that this was going to be like a bad hit, or a dirty hit,” Artyukhin said. “I think I did everything right. It just happens sometimes, the guy falls right so he gets a concussion.
“It’s just a part of the game. I just finished my check.”