TORONTO - Niagara IceDogs forward Tom Kuhnhackl was suspended for 20 games Tuesday for a crushing bodycheck on Rangers defenceman Ryan Murphy.
The six-foot-two 183-pound Kuhnhackl was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for charging after he caught Murphy skating with his head down last Friday. Murphy had touched the puck behind his own net just before he was hit.
Murphy was down on the ice for a couple of minutes before skating to the bench without assistance. The five-foot-11 176-pounder has already missed two games and is listed as being out indefinitely with what is described as an upper-body injury.
In a website video explaining the decision, the Ontario Hockey League noted that Kuhnhackl hit a vulnerable, unsuspecting player in the head and caused an injury on the play.
Murphy, who has six assists in nine games this season, was selected by the Carolina Hurricanes 12th overall in this year's NHL entry draft.
Kuhnhackl was taken in the fourth round of last year's draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He has five points and 11 penalty minutes in six games this season.