Dirty hit could land Witt suspension

SPORTSNET.CA

New York Islanders defenceman Brendan Witt could be facing disciplinary action for his elbow to the head on Niklas Hagman of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.

Witt received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for clipping the Leafs forward at 2:21 of the third period. Hagman, who battled concussion problems last December, was helped off the ice and did not return.

Sean Bergenheim scored a short-handed goal for the Islanders on the five-minute penalty for the hit, but Pavel Kubina later added a power-play goal for Toronto. The Leafs went onto win, 5-4, in a shootout.

Leafs coach Ron Wilson refused to comment on the hit after the game, saying he did not see the play.

“I didn’t even see it. I guess (it was an) elbow to the head,” Wilson said. “He got a five-minute major and a game misconduct so the rest of it is up to the league.”

Witt has been suspended once before by the National Hockey League, in 2006 as a member of the Nashville Predators. He served a one-game suspension for a collision with David Vyborny of the Blue Jackets that left the Columbus forward with a knee injury.

Hagman has provided the Leafs with some offensive spark since signing with the club as a free agent in the off-season. In 58 games with the Blue & White, Hagman has 19 goals and 18 assists.