The NHL has suspended Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen two games without pay for what the league called a "vicious" blindside check on San Jose Sharks defenceman Roman Polak.

Virtanen will forego more than $9,600 in pay because of the hit that occurred in the second period of San Jose's 4-1 win on Tuesday night. Polak had just passed the puck out of his end when he was sent hard to the ice after being struck from the right side by Virtanen.

Polak was not hurt, while Virtanen was issued a major penalty for interference and a game misconduct.

The league's department of player safety ruled Virtanen had ample time to avoid the hit.

Click below to hear the NHL's explanation for suspending the Canucks rookie.