The NHL has suspended Minnesota Wild forward Brad Staubitz for the remainder of the pre-season and three regular season games for an illegal hit from behind on Columbus Blue Jackets forward Cody Bass.
Brendan Shanahan, the NHL's senior vice-president of player safety, made the announcement in a press release on Monday.
The incident occurred on Sept. 23 at 4:24 of the third period when Bass went into the corner in his own zone to retrieve a loose puck and Staubitz came in and nailed him into the glass from behind. Bass sustained an injury on the play while Staubitz was given a major penalty and a game misconduct.
In a video, Shanahan explained his decision and cited the nature of the hit as a large factor in his decision.
"As the video shows, Bass has his back turned to Staubitz well before contact has been made," explained Shanahan. "....As Bass veers away from the play he makes no sudden moves to put himself in a vulnerable position either immediately prior to or simultaneous with the hit.
"This puts the onus on Staubitz to avoid the check completely or at least minimize the blow. Not only does he not minimize the check, Staubitz drives hard in Bass' numbers and into the glass causing a facial injury. This factor weighed most heavily in my decision."
Shanahan also noted Staubitz's slightly blemished track record, citing a previous suspension in 2009 for a hit on Los Angeles Kings forward Davis Drewiske after a whistle was blown on an icing call.
Staubitz received a one-game ban for his actions.
As part of his penalty this time, the 27-year-old Edmonton native will be forced to sit out pre-season tilts Tuesday versus St. Louis, Thursday at Columbus and on Friday against Edmonton. He'll miss regular season action against the Blue Jackets on Oct. 8, Oct. 10 against the New York Islanders and Oct. 11 at Ottawa.
He's eligible to return on Oct. 13 for a clash with the Oilers.
Staubitz will forfeit just over $9,000 US in salary.