Avs’ Johnson suspended two games for ‘violent’ Nielsen slash


On Tuesday, the National Hockey League suspended Colorado defenseman Erik Johnson two games for slashing — and breaking the hand of — Islanders forward Frans Nielsen.

“After Nielsen attempts to rim the puck behind the net to a teammate, Johnson chokes up on his stick and delivers a reckless two-handed slash, catching Nielsen across the thumb and injuring him,” the NHL’s Department of Player Safety explained. “Nielsen makes no unpredictable movements, and Johnson’s reckless slash is violent and directly across the hand.”

Here’s the video:

The incident occurred at 12:09 of the third period, and Johnson was assessed a minor penalty for slashing. He had no prior history of supplemental discipline with the league and wasn’t considered a repeat offender, but Nielsen’s injury did contribute to the punishment.

Johnson will miss Colorado’s first two games out of the Olympic break — Feb. 26 versus Los Angeles and Feb. 28 against Phoenix — and will forfeit $38,461.54 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Fund. He’ll be eligible to return on Sunday, Mar. 2 against Tampa Bay.