St. Louis Blues forward Maxim Lapierre has been suspended five games for boarding San Jose Sharks defenceman Dan Boyle earlier this week, the NHL said Friday.
The incident occurred early in the first period of Tuesday’s game in St. Louis and resulted in Boyle, who had lost balance while chasing the puck, having his head slammed against the boards, leaving him unconscious.
Lapierre was assessed a major penalty for checking from behind, along with a game misconduct.
“It’s undeniable that Boyle’s loss of balance just prior to contact made him much more vulnerable and contributed to the violent result,” NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan said. “However, at no point does Lapierre see anything other than Boyle’s numbers, when he decides to finish him on this check ... if Lapierre does not illegally hit him in the numbers, Boyle’s face does not crash violently into the boards.”