NHL playoffs 2019: Sharks' Joe Thornton suspended 1 game for illegal check

Sharks center and alternate captain Joe Thornton has been suspended one game for his illegal check to the head on Golden Knights winger Tomas Nosek in Sunday’s Game 3 of the Western Conference series.

Thornton was subjected to a league hearing earlier Monday.

The hit occurred at the 16:54 mark in the second period of San Jose’s 6-3 loss at Las Vegas when Thornton appeared to blind-side check Nosek.

Thornton was assessed a two-minute penalty on the play, while Nosek returned in the third period.

“I honestly thought I barely touched him,” Thornton said after the game, via the Mercury News. “He just came right back; it was just one of those plays that it is what it is. I think my son hits me like that six times a day, it’s just a weird position to put himself in. That’s all.”

While Thornton doesn’t have a history of questionable hits or suspensions, the NHL doesn’t take hits to the head lightly, even with postseason implications at stake.

The Golden Knights hold a 2-1 series lead as they prepare to host the Sharks for Game 4 at 10:30 p.m. ET Tuesday.