Toronto Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov has been suspended three games for his hit to the head of Rangers captain Ryan McDonough Thursday evening, an action he says he's sorry for.

He will forfeit $47,580.66 US to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund and will eligible to return for Toronto's Feb. 27 game at Montreal.

Komarov ranks third in the NHL with 245 hits this season. He has not been suspended previously despite some close calls and says he won't alter his game as a result of the McDonagh collision.

"I'm not trying to hurt people, I'm just hitting," said Komarov. "Sometimes it goes like it goes."

Komarov, the Maple Leafs' leading scorer and hitter, went through a phone hearing with the NHL's department of player safety on Friday afternoon for an illegal check to the head of McDonagh. The 29-year-old struck McDonagh with his left elbow late in the first period.

Komarov drew a match penalty for the hit and was ejected while McDonagh sat out the final two periods for "precautionary reasons".

"I hope he's okay," Komarov said Friday afternoon, moments before he spoke with the league. "I feel sorry for my teammates because I let them down — I got five minutes there — and I feel real sorry about Ryan, too."

Komarov had not reached out to McDonagh as of Friday afternoon.

Leafs head coach Mike Babcock described the situation as "unfortunate" given the potential injury to McDonagh, who returned from a concussion one night before the incident with Komarov. Still, he contended that Komarov played the game hard and never intended to hurt his opponents.

"There was no intent or malice in anything that happened," Babcock said. "It was a hockey play in a hockey game, but the league and the players' union, they have a stand on this stuff and they should."

"I hope he's okay," Komarov added. "Can't really say anything more right now."

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With files from CBC Sports