Georges Laraque (27) knocks down Patrick Kaleta in Wednesday's 7-3 Penguins triumph. ((Keith Srakocic/Associated Press))

Pittsburgh Penguins enforcer Georges Laraque was suspended Thursday for three games for hitting a player with a raised elbow.

He forfeits $20,855 US in salary, and is ineligible to return to the lineup until March 22.

Laraque, 31, elbowed defenceman Nathan Paetsch in the face early in the second period of Wednesday's 7-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.

Paetsch lay motionless on the ice for several minutes before being helped to the dressing room.

He is sidelined indefinitely with a concussion.

"It was cheap shot," Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff said. "How is it that's not suspendable — taking an elbow to the chin and out cold?"

Laraque was assessed a five-minute major penalty for elbowing, but Buffalo failed to score a goal on the extended power play.

Laraque has chalked up three goals and seven assists for 10 points with 128 penalty minutes in 63 games this season, his 10th in the NHL.

He has totalled 51 goals, 145 points and 1,024 penalty minutes in 626 NHL games with the Edmonton Oilers, Phoenix Coyotes and Penguins.

With files from the Associated Press