Washington forward Alex Ovechkin has been suspended three games for a hit to the head of Pittsburgh's Zbynek Michalek during Sunday's Capitals-Penguins game.
The incident happened early in the second period. Michalek had just moved the puck around the corner boards in his own zone when Ovechkin left his feet on a check in the corner and hit Michalek in the head area. Ovechkin was not penalized on the play.
In his suspension video, league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan cites the fact that Ovechkin launched himself, "recklessly making contact with Michalek's head" as primary reasons for the suspension. Ovechkin's two previous suspensions, two previous fines and the fact that Michalek was able to return to the game were also factored into the league's decision on a three-game ban.
This is the third suspension of Ovechkin's career. He received a two-game suspension on Dec. 1, 2009 for a knee-on-knee hit to Carolina's Tim Gleason, and another two games on Mar. 15, 2010 for what the league called a "reckless" hit for boarding then-Chicago Blackhawk defender Brian Campbell.
Ovechkin will be able to return to action on Feb. 4, but will still be able to participate in this weekend's All-Star Game in Ottawa.