Toronto (January 9, 2011) – Calgary Flames forward Tom Kostopoulos has been suspended for six games and will forfeit $29,569.92 in salary for delivering a blow to the head of Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brad Stuart in NHL game #609 on January 7, the National Hockey League announced today.
"A number of factors were considered in reaching this decision," said NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell.
"Kostopoulos delivered a blow to the head of an unsuspecting and vulnerable player. As well, he targeted the head of his opponent and, while the hit was not from the blindside, the head was the principle point of contact.
"The fact that Brad Stuart was not in possession of the puck when the blow was delivered and the serious nature of the player's injury were also considered in my decision."
The Flames issued a statement regarding the suspension on Sunday afternoon.
“We strongly disagree, not only with the length of the suspension, but also with the fact that Tom was suspended," said Jay Feaster, acting general manager of the Flames.
"While we are sorry the player was injured, we maintained in the hearing the hit was a legal check. The player was batting at the puck and Tom hit him in the chest and finished his check through him.
He did not target the head, and we do not believe the head was the initial point of contact. We respect the difficult job Colin Campbell has to do in these situations, and we appreciate the opportunity we were afforded to present our case; however, we simply do not agree with the decision.”
“I’m extremely disappointed in the League’s ruling as I believe I have not done anything illegal," said Kostopoulos. "I’m sorry that Brad was hurt on the play and I hope he returns to play soon, but it was never my intention to injure him and I definitely did not target the head. I maintain that I delivered a legal check to an opponent playing the puck. While I am upset with the League’s decision, I will serve the suspension in preparation for my return to the line-up to help my team.”
Kostopoulos’ fine is based on his average annual salary and is calculated under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
The incident occurred at 10:07 of the third period. He was assessed a minor penalty for roughing on the play.
Kostopoulos will miss games Jan. 11 at Carolina, Jan. 14 at Ottawa, Jan. 15 at Toronto, Jan. 17 at Montreal, Jan. 19 against Minnesota and Jan. 21 against Dallas. He is eligible to return Jan. 22 at Vancouver.