In spite of the Canadiens lopsided 5-2 win over the Senators, there remained a bit of controversy thanks to a questionable embellishment penalty given to Artturi Lehkonen on Saturday night.
The Finnish winger was clearly hooked by Thomas Chabot, and while falling to the ice pulled off an incredible pass for Phillip Danault’s goal shorthanded.
How in gods name is this embellishment on Artturi Lehkonen?— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) December 16, 2018
They just robbed the Finn of a highlight reel assist. pic.twitter.com/6SWBuJdmos
Only it didn’t count and Lehkonen was sent to the box for embellishment, wiping out a highlight reel play.
To start this week the Canadiens got a measure of closure on the ordeal, with the NHL office removing it from Lehkonen’s record according to head coach Claude Julien.
#Habs Julien says the league reviewed the Lehkonen embellishment minor from Saturday night and has rescinded it from the player’s record.— John Lu (@JohnLuTSNMtl) December 17, 2018
While it doesn’t restore the assist, it has the benefit of removing a strike from Lehkonen’s record. Under the NHL policy a player with multiple embellishment penalties is subject to fines of an increasing amount over their playing time.
It was clearly the wrong call, and the NHL removing the penalty is a step towards making sure Lehkonen isn’t punished further in the future. It also is as close as you get to the NHL publicly disagreeing with the call their official made on the ice.