Bruins’ Marchand suspended five games for elbowing Devils’ Johansson

Marcus Johansson would head to the locker room after receiving an elbow to the head from Brad Marchand.

Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand was suspended five games for his elbow on New Jersey Devils forward Marcus Johansson, the NHL announced Wednesday evening.

Marchand was selected to this weekend’s NHL All-Star Game and his suspension does not impact his ability to participate in the festivities.

Late in the third period of a 3-2 Bruins victory Tuesday night, after having a wrist shot stopped by Devils backup netminder Ken Appleby, Marchand cut towards the crease and cracked a backchecking Johansson in the left temple forcibly with his right elbow. Marchand avoided a penalty on the play and Johansson was attended to by medical staff. He remained on the ice for several moments and didn’t return to the game.

“He got hurt. I don’t know what happened. I have no idea what happened,” Marchand, known as one of the dirtiest players in the NHL, told reporters after the game via Andrew Gross of northjersey.com. “I took a shot and I tumbled down and he was hurt. So I don’t know what happened there, but hopefully he’s OK.”

Johansson’s status was unclear at the time the suspension was announced, however it would not be entirely surprising if he missed some time. The Devils host the Nashville Predators on Thursday in their final game before the NHL All-Star break. The 27-year-old Swede missed an entire month of action earlier this season as he recovered from a concussion he sustained Nov. 1 when he crashed hard into the boards early in a game against the Vancouver Canucks.

Marchand’s five-game ban will result in him forfeiting $373,475.61 in salary. This is the sixth time 29-year-old has been suspended in his NHL career.

Marchand’s previous five suspensions are as follows:

March 17, 2011: Suspended two games for blindside elbow on Columbus Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger.

Jan. 9, 2012: Suspended five games for low-bridging Vancouver Canucks defenceman Sami Salo.

Jan. 16, 2015: Suspended two games for slew-footing New York Rangers forward Derick Brassard.

Dec. 30, 2015: Suspended three games for clipping Ottawa Senators defenceman Mark Borowiecki.

April 6, 2017: Suspended two games for spearing Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Jake Dotchin.

Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy defended his player Wednesday morning following his team’s practice.

“Talking to Brad this morning he just felt he saw a Devils sweater and was going to protect himself from contact and from there, it’s in the league’s hands now,” Cassidy told reporters. “Brad’s taken a couple hits this year, missed some time, so I absolutely agree players should protect themselves if they see a hit coming.”

The NHL ruled Marchand’s elbow was not accidental nor defensive.

Marchand has 21 goals and 29 assists in 38 games played this season and his 1.32 points per game is the best in the league. He will miss games against the Ottawa Senators, Anaheim Ducks, St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings and is eligible to return Feb.7 on the road against the New York Rangers.

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