Jets’ Neal Pionk suspended 2 games; Spezza decision looming

[UPDATE: Spezza has been suspended 6 games. He is expected to appeal.]

The NHL suspended Jets defenseman Neal Pionk two games for kneeing Maple Leafs blueliner Rasmus Sandin. This is one of the key league decisions stemming from the carnage of a Maple Leafs – Jets game that spun out of control.

The Department of Player Safety announced an “in-person” meeting for Jason Spezza for retaliating against Neal Pionk on Tuesday.

Neal Pionk suspended two games for kneeing Rasmus Sandin

This marks the first suspension of Pionk’s NHL career. As you can see from the video above this post’s headline, the league found that Pionk “extended his knee” to hit Sandin. Pionk wasn’t penalized during the play itself.

“It looks to me like it’s a five-minute major. It’s a knee-on-knee,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said after the game. “A guy gets carried. Obviously, [the refs] didn’t see it. I think if they see it, they probably would’ve called it differently. The league, I’m sure, will have a look.”

TSN’s Chris Johnston reports that Sandin is expected to miss two-to-three weeks thanks to that Pionk hit.

So, we received the Pionk suspension, while the Spezza one is TBD. The league also fined Wayne Simmonds for cross-checking Jansen Harkins. This video captures much of the chaos between the Jets and Maple Leafs from Saturday:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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