TORONTO – The Buffalo Sabres know hockey can be a physical game, especially when Scott Hartnell is on the ice. They know his hits are worse when the recipient is in an awkward position.
That's how they view the Nashville forward's hit on Victor Antipin.
While Sabres coach Phil Housley fumed about the lack of suspension for Hartnell's hit that ended Antipin's season, the players felt for their teammate and lamented the result. Antipin's season is likely over with a concussion, broken nose and dental issues.
Hartnell hit the Sabres defenseman in the back behind the net Saturday, and Antipin struck the glass with his face and was knocked out.
"I understand that type of check can happen often in a game," Antipin's defense partner, Justin Falk, said Monday. "Victor got caught a little bit away from the glass, and when Hartnell finished him there was a little bit of a whiplash effect going in.
"That's a tough play. You want to keep the physicality in the game, but when you reverse a puck you're not expecting to get finished like that because your numbers are showing."
Antipin turned toward the boards while moving the puck, and it appeared Hartnell had time to hold up on his hit.
"I definitely thought there should have been a suspension, but I don't make those decisions," Sabres goaltender Chad Johnson said before facing Toronto in Air Canada Centre. "Especially being a veteran guy whose job is to bodycheck and that's all he really does, he knows where to hit guys and where dangerous spots are.
"He knew it was a vulnerable spot to hit a player. To hit him high, he knows impact is on the neck and head."
There was no supplemental discipline for Hartnell. Antipin's first (only?) season in North America will probably end with no goals, 10 assists and a minus-9 rating in 47 games.
"He was a bit defenseless and definitely got popped in the numbers," Sabres center Jack Eichel said. "He's in a tough situation a little bit away from the boards. He didn't hit him that hard, but it was an awkward spot."
Saturday's five-assist night for Eichel helped earn him an NHL honor.
The league named the Sabres center as its Third Star of the Week on Monday. Eichel was second in the NHL with eight points in three games, scoring three times and adding five assists. All five assists came during a 7-4 victory in Nashville.
Eichel became the first Sabres player to register five points in a game since Thomas Vanek on Jan. 31, 2013, and the first with five assists since Pat LaFontaine on Feb. 10, 1993.
Vegas forward William Karlsson, who had nine points in four games, was the First Star of the Week. Arizona goaltender Antti Raanta was the Second Star after going 3-0 with a .964 save percentage and 1.00 goals-against average.
The Sabres have seen a lot of Vasily Glotov in development and prospect camps. The organization will get a look at the forward in the American Hockey League.
Rochester has signed the 20-year-old to an amateur tryout contract. A seventh-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, Glotov just finished his second season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The Moscow native led Shawinigan with 29 goals and was second with 43 points in 64 games.
The 5-foot-11, 174-pound forward made his professional debut last month with Cincinnati of the ECHL. He had a goal and assist in five games.