Nystrom hit knocks Letang out of game

DALLAS -- Stars forward Eric Nystrom found himself in the middle of some controversy Wednesday night after he knocked Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang out of the game with a hard hit.

The play happened midway through the first period. As Letang tried to chip a puck past a hard charging Nystrom in the Pittsburgh zone, he reached out and Nystrom hit him hard (video is below). Letang went down to the ice for a few minutes and several of his teammates went after Nystrom.

“I’m coming in on the forecheck, I am going in to play the man and he is reaching in for the puck. I didn’t even touch his head, I hit him shoulder-to-shoulder,” Nystrom said of the hit. “I had four minor penalties coming into this game, I am not a headhunter.”

Nystrom was given a roughing minor for the hit.

“At the speed of the game, the ref just has to make a call there,” Nystrom said. “He saw the guy reach at the last second and I can’t stop there. I kept my arms down and I didn’t even make contact with his head. I never want to see a guy get hurt.”

Letang left the game and did not return.

“Kris Letang is upper body and day-to-day at this point,” Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said. “It’s a hit along the boards, reaching for the puck. I have not seen the replay on it. I know 24 traveled the distance to go into make the hit.”

Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said he thinks it will eventually be ruled a clean hit.

“He was reaching a little bit. Nys was committed to the hit and he saw him coming,” Gulutzan said. “I don’t think the head was the principle point of contact, so I think it’s going to be a clean hit but that’s for the league to decide. I just hope Letang is all right.”