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Sabres goaltender Aaron Dell suspended three games for hit on Senators' Drake Batherson

Yardbarker logo Yardbarker 1/27/2022 Zac Wassink, Yardbarker
Buffalo Sabres goaltender Aaron Dell © Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports Buffalo Sabres goaltender Aaron Dell

In one of the more bizarre scenes, to date, of the 2021-22 NHL regular season, Buffalo Sabres goaltender Aaron Dell delivered a questionable and avoidable blow to Ottawa Senators forward Drake Batherson late in the first period of Tuesday's game that Buffalo lost 5-0. 

As noted by ESPN, Batherson was injured on the play, and Dell learned Wednesday he'll also miss some time following the incident. 

The NHL's Department of Player Safety announced Dell has been suspended three games without pay for "interference." As a result, he will forfeit $11,250 of his salary, and that money will go to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund. 

"It's a bad play by the goalie," Senators coach D.J. Smith remarked after the game. "He's done it before, we've seen all the replays. Any other player in the game that does that, you'd have to go out there and face the music I guess. Certainly, the league will look at whatever, but it's a bad play ... and it's an unfortunate thing that a young kid's not going to be able to go to an All-Star game. It's dangerous."

Per Sportsnet, Batherson has a high-ankle sprain and won't play again before the NHL All-Star Game on Feb. 5. He leads the Senators with 34 points and 21 assists on the season. 

"It is important to note that this is a body check, not merely a collision," the league explained in an accompanying video. "Dell is looking up ice and is aware of the path Batherson is taking in order to avoid contact with Dell. Dell was the player who initiates the contact on this play. 

"This is also not a mere pick play or a last-second brace for impact in which a player impedes the path of his opponent without substantial force. Dell takes an active step into Batherson, shifting his weight and delivering a hit to an unsuspecting player that causes a dangerous fall into the boards.

"Finally, it is also important to note that Batherson does not have the puck and is therefore not eligible to be checked on this play in any manner. Batherson does not and should not expect the shoulder check from Dell in this situation, much less, a high, hard shoulder."

Dell's three-game ban will begin with Saturday's matchup at the Arizona Coyotes. 

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