Florida Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson has offered his point of view on the hit he delivered to Vancouver Canucks super rookie Elias Pettersson that resulted in a concussion for the 19-year-old and a two-game suspension for himself.
"I've watched the clip numerous times and I definitely understand what they saw and why they thought it was worth two games ... but it wasn't my intent," Matheson said, per Jason Botchford of The Athletic. "It's two-fold. I see why people think it was malicious and deserving of (a) suspension. I see that point of view. But I know how I was feeling in the moment and it wasn't that."
Here's the play, which occurred Saturday:
Prior to the collision, Pettersson had scored a goal - the fifth of his debut season in just five games.
"He's a skilled player," Matheson said. "He makes good plays. When you're in a battle with someone, you want to play them hard and make sure they can't beat you back to the net. There was no point in my frame of mind where I was thinking 'I got to injure this guy.'"
Matheson added that he reached out to Pettersson via text to apologize and ensure he's OK.
The Panthers blue-liner is eligible to return from his ban Saturday, while an exact timetable for Pettersson's recovery isn't yet clear.