Toronto defenseman Dion Phaneuf has been suspended two games for boarding Boston’s Kevan Miller during a 5-2 loss on Sunday, the NHL has announced.
Phaneuf ran Miller into the boards late in the third period, with no penalty assessed on the play.
“While Miller is playing the puck with his left skate and his back to the play, Phaneuf hits him with significant force, driving Miller face-first into the boards,” NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan explained. “[Miller] was never eligible to be hit like this.”
Shanahan does note, however, that a slash to Miller’s leg just prior to the hit caused the Boston forward to buckle, which “contributed” to the severity of the check.
Phaneuf has a clean disciplinary record and was suspended following a telephone hearing with the league’s Department of Player Safety earlier this morning.
The suspension will keep Phaneuf out of Toronto’s next two contests — Wednesday vs. Los Angeles, Thursday at St. Louis — and he’ll be eligible to return on Saturday for a home date at the ACC against the defending Cup champion Blackhawks.
It’s worth noting that Toronto has been one of the most-suspended teams this season. Five different players have now received supplemental discipline from the league — Phaneuf (two games), Nazem Kadri (goalie interference, three games), Carter Ashton (boarding, two games), Phil Kessel (slashing, three games) and David Clarkson (leaving bench to fight, 10 games).
Phaneuf will also forfeit $66,666.66 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.