Canadiens’ Max Domi slammed as ‘GUTLESS’ for sucker punching Panthers’ Aaron Ekblad

Canadiens center Max Domi was ejected from Wednesday’s preseason game in Montreal for a punch to Florida defenseman Aaron Ekblad’s face that Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo called ‘gutless.’

Domi was given a match penalty for ‘attempt to/deliberate injury’ and a minor penalty for roughing after punching Ekblad about a minute into the third period of the Panthers’ 5-2 win.

Ekblad, who was cut on the forehead and bleeding down his face and jersey, was taken straight to the locker room and did not return, though he cleared concussion protocol after going through tests.

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The encounter began in the corner when the Florida Panthers' 6ft4 Aaron Ekblad arrived with a quick slash and a check to the Montreal Canadiens' 5ft10 Max Domi, who returned the favor as the puck went back up the ice. The two stood face to face for a moment before Ekblad turned away, but Domi grabbed his jersey collar with his left hand and threw three jabs with the same hand

The encounter began in the corner when the Florida Panthers' 6ft4 Aaron Ekblad arrived with a quick slash and a check to the Montreal Canadiens' 5ft10 Max Domi, who returned the favor as the puck went back up the ice. The two stood face to face for a moment before Ekblad turned away, but Domi grabbed his jersey collar with his left hand and threw three jabs with the same hand

When Ekblad did not respond, Domi dropped his right glove and delivered a shot to the chin, knocking Ekblad to the ice just before referees could arrive to separate the two

When Ekblad did not respond, Domi dropped his right glove and delivered a shot to the chin, knocking Ekblad to the ice just before referees could arrive to separate the two

The encounter began in the corner when the Florida Panthers’ 6ft4 Aaron Ekblad arrived with a quick slash and a check to the Montreal Canadiens’ 5ft10 Max Domi, who returned the favor as the puck went back up the ice. The two stood face to face for a moment before Ekblad turned away, but Domi grabbed his jersey collar with his left hand and threw three jabs with the same hand. When Ekblad did not respond, Domi dropped his right glove and delivered a shot to the chin, knocking Ekblad to the ice just before referees could arrive to separate the two

Domi was given a match penalty for 'attempt to/deliberate injury' and a minor penalty for roughing after punching Ekblad about a minute into the third period of the Panthers' 5-2 win

Domi was given a match penalty for 'attempt to/deliberate injury' and a minor penalty for roughing after punching Ekblad about a minute into the third period of the Panthers' 5-2 win

Domi was given a match penalty for ‘attempt to/deliberate injury’ and a minor penalty for roughing after punching Ekblad about a minute into the third period of the Panthers’ 5-2 win

Ekblad, who was cut on the forehead and bleeding down his face and jersey, was taken straight to the locker room and did not return

Ekblad, who was cut on the forehead and bleeding down his face and jersey, was taken straight to the locker room and did not return

Eckblad did get cleared through the concussion protocol

Eckblad did get cleared through the concussion protocol

Ekblad, who was cut on the forehead and bleeding down his face and jersey, was taken straight to the locker room and did not return, though he cleared concussion protocol

The encounter began in the corner when the 6ft4 Ekblad arrived with a quick slash and a check to the 5ft10 Domi, who returned the favor as the puck went back up the ice. 

The two stood face to face for a moment before Ekblad turned away, but Domi grabbed his jersey collar with his left hand and threw three jabs with the same hand. When Ekblad did not respond, Domi dropped his right glove and delivered a shot to the chin, knocking Ekblad to the ice just before referees could arrive to separate the two.

‘I’m sure the league will look at it, and we definitely won’t forget about it,’ Luongo said afterward. ‘You don’t do that. You respect your opponents, and if your opponent doesn’t want to engage in a fight, there’s no reason to drop your glove and punch him square in the face. Bit of a gutless play. You don’t do those types of things.’

Panthers coach Bob Boughner had similar words.

‘NHL Player Safety will review it. It’s in their hands now,’ he said. ‘We had a delayed penalty, and Ekblad was just trying to stay out of it. I didn’t expect that he was going to drop his glove and sucker-punch him.’

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Max Domi goes through his medical exam before training camp in Brossard, Quebec, Thursday

Max Domi goes through his medical exam before training camp in Brossard, Quebec, Thursday

Tie Domi #28 and Darryl Sittler #27 of the Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni share a moment on the bench against the Detroit Red Wings Alumni during the 2017 Rogers NHL Centennial Classic Alumni Game at BMO Field on December 31, 2016 in Toronto

Tie Domi #28 and Darryl Sittler #27 of the Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni share a moment on the bench against the Detroit Red Wings Alumni during the 2017 Rogers NHL Centennial Classic Alumni Game at BMO Field on December 31, 2016 in Toronto

Max Domi (left) looked remarkably similar to his retired father Tie (right) on Wednesday night

Max Domi (left) is the son of infamous Toronto Maple Leafs enforcer Tie Domi (right), who terrorized opposing NHL players in the 1990s and was frequently suspended because of it

Max Domi (left) is the son of infamous Toronto Maple Leafs enforcer Tie Domi (right), who terrorized opposing NHL players in the 1990s and was frequently suspended because of it

Max Domi (left) is the son of infamous Toronto Maple Leafs enforcer Tie Domi (right), who terrorized opposing NHL players in the 1990s and was frequently suspended because of it

Canadiens players didn’t see the interaction that way, particularly winger Jonathan Drouin, who was in the corner near the puck when the encounter began.

‘The two were arguing with one another,’ Drouin said. ‘I saw a pretty big slash from Ekblad on Max, and Max just took matters into his own hands. It’s also Ekblad’s fault for not protecting himself.’

The teams will first meet in the regular season December 28 in Sunrise, Florida. 

Domi, who was acquired from the Coyotes in mid-July, has 135 points (36 goals, 99 assists) and 185 penalty minutes through three NHL seasons. He led Arizona in penalty minutes last year with 73.

He is the son of infamous Toronto Maple Leafs enforcer Tie Domi, who terrorized opposing NHL players in the 1990s. 

Tie Domi even had a similar sucker-punching incident against the New York Rangers in 1995, when he knocked out defenseman Ulf Samuelsson, who was not engaged in the fight.  

He was given an eight-game suspension for the notorious cheap shot. 

In 2001, Tie Domi knocked New Jesey Devils defenseman Scott Niedermayer unconcious with an elbow during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Remarkably, Tie Domi was even shorter than his son, standing just 5ft8 while typically fighting NHL players who stood 6ft4 or higher. 

Remarkably, Tie Domi (left), the father of Montreal's Max Domi, was even shorter than his son, standing just 5ft8 while typically fighting NHL players who stood 6ft4 or higher

Remarkably, Tie Domi (left), the father of Montreal's Max Domi, was even shorter than his son, standing just 5ft8 while typically fighting NHL players who stood 6ft4 or higher

Remarkably, Tie Domi (left), the father of Montreal’s Max Domi, was even shorter than his son, standing just 5ft8 while typically fighting NHL players who stood 6ft4 or higher

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