Sutton suspended for hit to head

Sutton suspended for hit to head
By Reuters

02/11/2011 at 08:46Updated 02/11/2011 at 08:52

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Andy Sutton has been suspended five games for an illegal hit to the head of Colorado Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog.

Sutton received a minor penalty for delivering an elbow to Landeskog's head during the third period of Edmonton's 3-1 win on on Friday. Landeskog was not injured on the play.

Landeskog, drafted second overall by Colorado in June, was looking back to accept a pass in the neutral zone when Sutton stepped up in anticipation of delivering a hit.

"At the moment of impact it's clear that the head is the principle point of contact and has been recklessly targeted," NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan said in a video posted on the league's website to explain the ban.

Shanahan said Sutton is not considered a repeat offender as defined by the collective bargaining agreement but that the NHL could not ignore his history.

"We've also taken into consideration that although Sutton has played a physical game over his 14 years, he's been fined and suspended for various illegal checks," said Shanahan.

Sutton, who had already sat out Sunday's game against the St. Louis Blues, will be eligible to return for his team's Nov. 11 game against the Detroit Red Wings.

"I have been informed of and understand the league's decision, however, I had no intention of delivering an illegal check," Sutton said in a statement. "For 14 years, I've always played the game with respect and integrity and I will continue to do so when I return."