The NHL has suspended Toronto forward Joffrey Lupul two games for hitting Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman in the head during Wednesday night’s game.
“After Hedman passes the puck, Lupul approaches from the side and recklessly targets Hedman’s head by elevating and making it the principle point of contact,” said Rob Blake of the NHL’s disciplinary department.
Lupul was given a two-minute minor for illegal check to the head on the play, while Hedman left momentarily before returning to action.
Following the game, Lupul said targeting Hedman’s head was unintentional and tried to defend the hit.
“I didn’t realize I got him in the head,” he told reporters. “I saw he was hurt — again, I gotta see the replay but by no means did I go after and try and hit him in the head.
“I wasn’t even over there to hit him, he kinda came back towards the middle at the last second, and it’s unfortunate.”
Blake said Hedman being uninjured played a role in the ruling, as did the fact Lupul had no past disciplinary incidents during his nine-year NHL career.
Lupul will now miss Toronto’s next two games — Thursday in Buffalo, Saturday vs. Boston — and will fork over $45,945.94 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.