NHL suspends Thrashers defenceman Sutton

The NHL slapped Atlanta Thrashers defenceman Andy Sutton with a four-game suspension Saturday.

The suspension is in response to Sutton delivering a blow to the head of Maple Leafs forward Darcy Tucker during Toronto's 9-1 victory Friday night.

"In no way, shape or form did I mean to injure Darcy," Sutton told The Associated Press. "I finished my check the way I have hundreds of times before. He just happened to hit his head in a bad way."

Tucker was happy the NHL took immediate action.

"It was swift and they didn't let it linger, which was nice. I'm glad it's over. I'm indifferent. It's not up to me to decide, that's not my place," said the Leafs forward.

During the third period, Sutton pushed Tucker's face into the boards and was handed a 10-minute penalty for attempt to injure. Tucker left with a bloody gash above his left eye and received 20 stitches.

"It was just [cowardice]," Leafs head coach Pat Quinn said. "That's trying to hurt people and there should be no place in the game for that. This was a disgrace."

Sutton's unpaid suspension begins Saturday with Atlanta's game against the New York Rangers. Sutton will forfeit $38,775.52 US in salary that will go to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

Sutton will eligible to return to the Atlanta lineup for their game Oct. 27 in Pittsburgh.

The Thrashers took a number of penalties in the third, which drew the ire of Toronto forward Tie Domi, who had a few choice words for Atlanta head coach Bob Hartley after the game.

"Hartley always has had that reputation of being a bush-league coach," Domi said. "And his true colors came out tonight. He doesn't have much respect throughout the league, even from his own players."

"I don't think it was necessarily just the players' decision," Tucker said Saturday. "I think (Hartley) should be accountable, but that's not for me to say. It's tough to prove something like that and I'm sure their players aren't going to say anything."