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SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov knew he was going to be suspended, but the length of the punishment had yet to be decided.

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Until now.

The NHL Department of Player Safety announced on Monday that Kulikov has been suspended four games for his hit on Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars last Friday.

Kulikov sat out the Panthers shootout loss to St. Louis on Sunday so he will miss the next three games, all on the road, against Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.

He will be eligible to return to the Panthers lineup on Sunday when they face the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

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After reviewing the play, the NHL stated that Kulikov “bends severely at the waist and throws his body across Seguin’s knees, flipping Seguin dangerously to the ice and causing a significant knee injury. This is clipping.”

The league went on to explain that it was the way Kulikov delivered the hit, not his attempt at an open ice hip check, that made the play discipline-worthy.

“While the hip check is an increasingly rare play in the NHL, it remains legal if delivered properly. However, it has long been illegal to deliver any kind of body check at, or below the knees. When such a check is delivered, the player delivering the check is responsible for any consequences and supplemental discipline can be merited.”

Basically, Kulikov didn’t execute his intended hit properly and it resulted in the illegal clipping penalty.

This is the first time that Kulikov has been suspended by the league and that was certainly a factor in determining the length of his suspension.

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