With an eye on enforcing its new rule regarding hits to the head, the NHL suspended San Jose Sharks captain Joe Thornton for two games on Friday.
Thornton was tossed from a game against the St. Louis Blues Thursday night after delivering a blow to forward David Perron along the neutral zone.
Thornton, who had just come out of the penalty box, sent an unsuspecting Perron to the ice with an elbow to the head.
The ejection took Thornton by surprise.
"I felt like I established myself on the ice," he said. "I just braced myself for the hit. He just ran into me, to be honest with you."
The Sharks centre will forfeit $77,419.36 US in salary before he's eligible to return on Nov. 11 against the New York Islanders.
Perron recovered to score a goal that helped lead the Blues to a 2-0 victory over the Sharks, and extend St. Louis's home winning streak to six games.
He did not blame Thornton for the hit when questioned after the game.
"I asked the guys who hit me actually, because I didn't know who it was," Perron said. "Obviously, Joe's not a dirty player. It's good I got to score a goal and it was a big one for us."