Avs’ McLeod suspended five games for boarding Kronwall

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Colorado forward Cody McLeod has been suspended five games for boarding Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall on Thursday night, the NHL has announced.

McLeod, 29, was given a five-minute boarding major and game misconduct for the hit, which knocked Kronwall out and forced him from the game on a stretcher.

In his explanatory video, NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan notes that the Department of Player Safety took into account Kronwall’s actions just prior to the hit — quickly changing direction “against the grain.”

That said, Kronwall’s sudden movement didn’t absolve McLeod of blame.

“Although Kronwall might’ve put himself in a more vulnerable position, the key to this play is that we’re convinced McLeod has time to avoid or minimize checking Kronwall from behind,” Shanahan explained. “Although Kronwall cuts back, McLeod actually makes an adjustment to his own path and is responsible for the violent collision that results.”

Here’s the video:

Shanahan also notes that, while Kronwall has resumed skating with the Wings, he suffered a serious injury on the play. McLeod had no supplemental discipline history — fines or suspensions — so that did not play a role in the punishment.

McLeod missed Colorado’s win on Saturday over Buffalo and won’t play tonight against Pittsburgh. He’ll proceed to sit out games against Carolina, Winnipeg and Dallas before being eligible to return on Nov. 2 against Montreal.

MacLeod will also forfeit $29,487.20 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.