The NY Islanders visited the United Center to take on the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night, rolling into town on a three game win streak. The Islanders found themselves short a man early in the contest when Casey Cizikas collided with Blackhawks goaltender, Alex Stalock, just 2:56 into the game.
The play was a controversial one with fans debating on social media the severity of the play, but situations such as this must always be taken seriously when there is head contact involved, and unfortunately in this instance, there was for Stalock.
The Islanders 31-year-old center had the puck on his stick and drove to the net looking to create a scoring chance. When Cizikas put a shot on net, Stalock's momentum to make the save pulled him out of his crease as Cizikas was continuing his drive, and the two collided. Unfortunately for Stalock, he took contact to the head and was out for the remainder of the game.
Cizikas received a five-minute major for goaltender interference and a game misconduct that took him out of the remainder of the game. There was much speculation as to whether or not Cizikas would be suspended further than just the 58:04 he missed on Tuesday night. However, that wasn't the case.
The NHL's Department of Player Safety deemed the incident worthy of just a fine, rather than a suspension. Cizikas was fined $5,000, the maximum allowable under the CBA, for the incident. Following the departure of Stalock, the Islanders went on to defeat the Blackhawks 3-1. 23-year-old Arvid Soderblom came in to relieve Stalock for his fifth NHL appearance, making 28 saves on 30 shots.
The Islanders head to St. Louis to take on the Blues Thursday night, and barring any other unforeseen circumstances, Cizikas is expected to be in the lineup and back in his place on the fourth line.