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Foligno suspended for three games for hit vs. Colorado

CBJ captain to miss time after collision with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

by Jeffrey Svoboda @JacketsInsider /

Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno has been suspended three games for a hit he laid on Colorado center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare during Saturday's game. 

The NHL's Department of Player Safety released the punishment Monday after Foligno had a hearing with the league earlier in the afternoon. It is the first suspension of his career. 

"I've never been in this position before in the 13 years that I've played," Foligno said after the game. "You never want to hurt anyone. I think my track record speaks for itself. I would never maliciously try to hurt anyone." 

Foligno will miss Tuesday night's game vs. Montreal as well as games Friday (St. Louis at home) and next Tuesday (Montreal at home).

The situation came in the second period of the game. Foligno thought he had Bellemare lined up for an open-ice hit in the neutral zone, but the Avs center made a pass and changed direction just before Foligno hit him. 

It led to an awkward collision, as it appeared Foligno tried to avoid Bellemare but couldn't, and his elbow flew up and caught Bellemare in the head as Foligno also tripped over his opponent's skates.  

Foligno was contrite after that game, saying he had no idea at first that he had even made contact with Bellemare's head. Bellemare was diagnosed with a concussion, Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said today.

"There was no intent to hit him like that at all," Foligno said. "I'm trying to line him up at the time and then he turns back and makes that play. It just happened so fast. I felt sick to my stomach when I saw that I hit him in the head. It's an unfortunate collision, and my main concern is that he's all right. 

"Honestly, originally I just thought it was a collision and I fell over him. I didn't even think I got him. I was trying to avoid him to be honest with you once he made that move back. It's just too bad." 

Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella also spoke in support of Foligno on Monday after a practice in which the CBJ captain did skate but did not take line rushes. 

"The way he plays the game speaks for itself," Tortorella said. "He's certainly not looking to hurt someone. That's just not in his DNA. He plays hard." 

The Blue Jackets have recalled Eric Robinson ahead of Tuesday's game at Montreal, while Riley Nash also could re-enter the lineup.  

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