New York, NY, United States (4E Sports) – The NHL has suspended Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal for five games without pay for kneeing Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand during their Saturday’s game.
In its official announcement, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety said the incident occurred at 11:06 of the first period.
Marchand was tripped by Sidney Crosby before Neal collided with the Boston Bruins player. Neal received a minor penalty for kneeing.
However, NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan said the incident was more serious than simply not avoiding contact.
“With a clear view of Marchand and plenty of time to avoid him, Neal skates directly through Marchand’s head with his left knee,” Shanahan said.
“While looking down directly at Marchand, Neal turns his skates and extends his left leg, ensuring that contact is made with Marchand’s head,” he added.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Neal will forfeit $128,205.15. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Neal had 10 goals and 10 assists in 15 games since returning from a season-opening injury early last month.