The Ontario Hockey League has suspended Owen Sound forward Mike Halmo for 10 games for his hit to the head of Sarnia Sting forward and top 2012 NHL Draft prospect Nail Yakupov.
In the second period of a game March 10, Yakupov was skating through the Owen Sound zone when Halmo hit him in head. Halmo was handed a five-minute major penalty for charging. After playing the next day against Plymouth, the OHL announced on Wednesday that Halmo had been suspended indefinitely.
That ruling was changed again Friday.
Halmo will have to sit out the final two regular-season games and Owen Sound's first eight playoff games, if it plays that many. The 20-year-old Halmo, an undrafted free agent, recently signed with the New York Islanders, meaning he may have played his last game in junior hockey.
Yakupov is the top-rated North American skater in NHL Central Scouting's mid-term rankings. He's tied for the team lead with 31 goals and is second with 69 points despite playing just 42 games this season.
Sarnia GM/coach Jacques Beaulieu said on March 12 that Yakupov would sit out the remainder of the regular season and be re-evaluated before the OHL playoffs start March 22. Sarnia, currently fourth in the OHL Western Conference, could face fifth-seeded Owen Sound in the first round.
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