TORONTO (AP) -New York Islanders defenseman Brendan Witt was suspended five games by the NHL on Friday for elbowing Toronto Maple Leafs forward Niklas Hagman in the head.
Witt will begin serving his ban Saturday against Buffalo and will lose more than $74,000 in salary. He can return March 10 at Toronto.
Witt hit Hagman at 2:21 of the third period on Thursday night. Hagman was injured and did not return to the game, which was won by the visiting Leafs in a shootout. Officials gave Witt a major penalty and a game misconduct.
"We are disappointed to lose a player of Brendan's caliber and character for this period of time, but we understand the League's concerns regarding hits to the head," Islanders general manager Garth Snow said in a statement.
He will also miss games against Colorado, the New York Rangers, New Jersey and Phoenix.