Detroit Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist has been suspended for six games for high-sticking Minnesota Wild defenceman Jared Spurgeon during a game last weekend.
The incident occurred at 14:13 of the first period in Sunday's game between the clubs, a 6-3 Wild win.
Spurgeon had cross-checked Nyquist to the ice from behind near the side boards, and Nyquist came up swinging, using the blade of his stick to spear Spurgeon just below his left eye.
Spurgeon missed a few shifts while getting stitches in his cheek but returned before the end of the period. Nyquist got a double-minor, which irked Wild coach Bruce Boudreau.
"They didn't see it from the same angle I did," Boudreau said of the game officials. "They didn't think it was that bad. I said, 'Well watch the replay. You'll see it deserved more than a double minor."'
Nyquist said the play wasn't intentional, but the NHL's Department of Player Safety disagreed.
"This is not an accidental or inadvertent high-stick delivered by a player who is swatting at a puck in mid-air or who simply fails to control his stick in traffic," the league said in a video explaining the suspension. "Rather, as Nyquist stated in a hearing regarding this incident, he acts in retaliation for being cross-checked from behind."
According to the league, Nyquist didn't intend to high-stick Spurgeon but wanted to respond with a cross-check of his own. A suspension was warranted regardless of his intentions, the league said, because he was attempting to use his stick in a retaliatory fashion and he is "completely responsible" for using his stick to deliver a dangerous blow that could have resulted in a severe injury.
Nyquist will forfeit $158,333.34 US in salary. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.