The NHL has suspended Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman Dalton Prout one game for sucker punching Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov during a scuffle in Sunday's game.
Prout approached Kucherov while he was engaged with another player and delivered a blindside punch with his right gloved hand to his head. Kucherov left the game for precautionary reasons but did not suffer an apparent injury.
Prout has no fines or suspensions on his record through 197 NHL games. The league's department of player safety says it understands his argument that he was defending a teammate but added that "this is not an acceptable method of doing so."
Prout will miss the Blue Jackets' game Thursday against the Detroit Red Wings and forfeit $5,780 US as a result of the suspension.