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NHL clips Leafs' forward for hit

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT – The NHL has suspended Toronto forward Clarke MacArthur for his blind-side hit to the head of Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader, which occurred at the end of regulation Friday night at Joe Louis Arena.

MacArthur, who is entering his sixth NHL season – and second with the Leafs – is now the ninth player to earn a suspension during the 2011 preseason.

At the end of Friday’s third period, MacArthur delivered a shot with his upper left arm to Abdelkader’s head that dropped the Wings’ forward. Video replay shows that MacArthur could have avoided the hit.

Either way, both players went to the box – Abdelkader for cross-checking and MacArthur for high-sticking.

“Got his head twisted right around,” Wings coach Mike Babcock told reporters after the game. “I mean, to me when it’s your own player, you always look at it differently, right? So, to me, this was a blind-side hit from the side, and it’s a tough one.”

MacArthur has been suspended for three games – the Leafs’ preseason finale tonight against the Wings at Air Canada Centre – and two regular-season games, without pay.

According to, under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, MacArthur will forfeit $35,135.14. The money will go to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

Immediately following Friday's game – a 4-3 overtime loss – Abdelkader was asked if he thought that MacArthur had targeted his head.

“Maybe, yes. I don't know,” said Abdelkader, who is expected to by in the Wings' lineup tonight in Toronto. “I really didn't see it coming. Initially (I thought it was), but I'm going to have to look at it on film and see and judge it from there.”

Friday morning, the Wings learned that the league had levied an eight-game suspension on prospect Brendan Smith for an illegal hit that he delivered to the head of Chicago forward Ben Smith last Wednesday.

Brendan Smith was assigned Friday to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill

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