Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Kris Letang has been suspended for two games by the NHL for boarding Winnipeg Jets forward Alex Burmistrov.
Letang's ban was handed out Tuesday, just hours before the Penguins beat the Minnesota Wild. The defenceman also will miss Thursday's home game against Montreal and be eligible to play on Saturday when the Penguins face New Jersey.
“It's always questionable,” Letang said after Pittsburgh's 4-2 win at Minnesota. “The league is trying to avoid those hits. I think I just need to be a little bit more careful on the boards and learn from that.”
Letang hit Burmistrov from behind and drove him into the boards at 13:08 of the third period during Pittsburgh's 2-1 loss at Winnipeg on Monday night. Letang, who was given a minor penalty for boarding, will lose US$37,837.84 in salary for the suspension.
“They said at the moment I can see his number, I should've hit the brakes, or slow down, or try to let up, I guess,” Letang said.
The Penguins recalled defenceman Brian Strait from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to take Letang's spot in the lineup. Strait left Tuesday's game in the second period with an undisclosed upper body injury and didn't return.
Letang's absence comes at a tough time for Pittsburgh, which is already playing without Sidney Crosby (concussion), Evgeni Malkin (knee), Brooks Orpik (lower body), Tyler Kennedy (concussion), and Dustin Jeffrey (knee surgery).
“We're missing a lot of guys,” Letang said. “Obviously, we're going through a big stretch, a tough stretch for all the guys. It's a bad spot in the year to take a suspension.”