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Report: Ducks' Strome avoids suspension for kneeing Jets' Connor

Debora Robinson / National Hockey League / Getty

Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Strome has avoided supplemental discipline for his knee-on-knee hit on Winnipeg Jets sniper Kyle Connor during Sunday's contest, a league source told the Winnipeg Free Press' Mike McIntyre.

Connor exited and didn't return after the hit, which occurred in the opening minute of the second frame during Winnipeg's 4-2 comeback win. He remained down on the ice for several moments but was eventually helped to his feet and down the tunnel by teammates Nikolaj Ehlers and Josh Morrissey.

Jets center Mark Scheifele immediately dropped the gloves with Strome in Connor's defense. Strome was handed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for kneeing, while both he and Scheifele were dinged for fighting.

The NHL found Strome didn't deliberately extend his knee and that it was reckless but not intentional, so the major penalty and misconduct served as sufficient punishment, per McIntyre.

Here's a closer look at the hit:

"He sticks his knee out. You hope that's a suspendable knee-on-knee. There's no other way of looking at it," Jets head coach Rick Bowness said postgame. "But the referees made the right call. Five-minute major and a game misconduct and then we'll see where it goes from there."

Ducks bench boss Greg Cronin disagreed.

"I even questioned that it was a five-minute (major). I guess there's an automatic if the guys click their knees together," he said, according to The Athletic's Eric Stephens and Murat Ates. "He goes in and he tries to hit him with a shoulder check. I feel bad. He's a heck of a player. Nobody wants to lose a star player like Connor.

"When (referee) Kyle (Rehman) came over, I said, 'Why is it a five? There was no intent there.'" Cronin continued. "Literally, if you watch his shoulder, he turns his shoulder into Connor. And it’s just (that) they hit knees."

Connor led the Jets with 17 goals and 28 points in 25 games heading into Sunday's action. The 27-year-old registered three shots on goal in just under eight minutes of ice time before his departure.

Strome has never been suspended in his 729-game NHL career. He was fined $5,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct against the Colorado Avalanche this past April.

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