Niklas Hjalmarsson disappointed
CHICAGO -- A clearly frustrated Niklas Hjalmarsson on Wednesday met the media for the first time since the NHL suspended the Chicago Blackhawks defenseman two games for hitting Buffalo Sabres forward Jason Pominville into the boards on Monday night.
Hjalmarsson sounded remorseful for the hit and isn't angry with the decision, though he's disappointed. He was asked if the main reason for the suspension was that the hit was from behind.
"It was too hard of a hit, I guess," Hjalmarsson said. "Maybe I should have considered him being in a vulnerable position a bit more and not hit him as hard. That's what [the league] said."
Hjalmarsson isn't concerned with facing the Sabres in his first game back from suspension on Saturday at the United Center, nor with some harsh comments the Sabres made the day after the hit.
"It's the league's decision, not the other team's," Hjalmarsson said. "That's their [Buffalo's] opinion, and it's only the league's opinion that matters."
At that point, Hjalmarsson ended the interview.
"I don't want to talk about the hit anymore," he said. "It's starting to get old. The league gave me two games, and that's what it is right now."
Hjalmarsson's frustration might also be due to the start he's had on the ice. He is minus-4 in the seven periods he played before getting kicked out on Monday. He is eligible to practice with the team during his suspension.
Jesse Rogers covers the Blackhawks for ESPNChicago.com.