You don’t deliver a late, high hit on a living legend and get away Scot-free.
That was the message sent to Robert Bortuzzo Wednesday by the NHL’s department of player safety, which handed Bortuzzo a two-game suspension for his late hit (watch above) on New Jersey Devils forward Jaromir Jagr.
The Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman slammed Jagr, 42, with a check to the head behind the net late in the second period during the Penguins’ 1-0 win Tuesday night.
The Devils’ leading scorer hit the ice for a few minutes before leaving the game.
Bortuzzo did not receive a penalty on the play, which infuriated New Jersey head coach Peter DeBoer. DeBoer said it didn’t matter if it was an elbow or a shoulder that hit Jagr, it was a headshot.
“If one of our guys had done that to [Sidney] Crosby, there’d be World War IV,” DeBoer said. “I just thought it was a liberty.”
Jagr did not attend the Devils’ practice Wednesday. New Jersey’s next game takes place Thursday in Toronto.
“Everybody saw it,” Devils GM Lou Lamoriello told reporters. “It’s obvious there’s some intent there that was out of the ordinary.”