Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Malone will not be suspended for his hit on Montreal Canadiens defenceman Chris Campoli.
NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety and Hockey Operations Brendan Shanahan made the call on Monday, saying this decision was his "most difficult to date."
"We felt that this hit was the most challenging one so far in this pre-season for the Department of Player Safety to evaluate," said Shanahan. "In the end, we felt that Malone had committed to the hit when Campoli was upright. However, when the contact was made, Campoli's head position significantly changed just prior to the hit.
"There are elements about the hit that we don't like - specifically, the principal point of contact being the head and that it was not a full-body check. But the overriding factor in our judgment was that Campoli's loss of the puck and subsequent bending forward for it just prior contributed significantly, if not entirely, to those elements."
Malone received a five minute major penalty and a game misconduct on Saturday when he hit Campoli with a shoulder to the head near the mid-point of the third period. Campoli, who the club signed last week and was only in his second game with the club, was forced to leave the game.
Campoli took part at practice on Monday as the Canadiens began their team-building session in Collingwood, ON. Head coach Jacques Martin said the blueliner did not suffer a concussion or experience post-concussion symptoms.