Witt hit costs 5 games

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:20 AM ET

The NHL has suspended New York Islanders defenceman Brendan Witt for five games after elbowing the head of Toronto's Niklas Hagman during the Leafs' 5-4 shootout victory on Thursday.

Witt received a five-minute penalty and game misconduct on a play that left Hagman weak-kneed and woozy.

The Toronto forward already has missed time this season because of a concussion and was sent home yesterday for further evaluation. Hagman has 19 goals and 18 assists in 58 games this season.

Witt will forfeit $74,372.75 US in salary and is eligible to play for the Islanders on March 10 against the Maple Leafs.

LONG NIGHTS

The Leafs could break a franchise record for most consecutive games played in overtime tonight against the Ottawa Senators. The Leafs have gone past the 60-minute mark in five games in a row, tying a record that originally was set in 1986 from Dec. 13 to Dec. 23. The Leafs are the first NHL team this season to play five in a row in extra time, but coach Ron Wilson doesn't believe his squad is any worse for wear.

"We didn't practice very hard (yesterday)," he said. "And what is overtime? It's an extra five minutes. I don't think that's too much to ask for some of our guys. Some of our defencemen probably played too much because we've been a little light back there."

Defenceman Ian White played more than 29 minutes on Thursday and fellow blueliner Pavel Kubina went 28 minutes.

ROSTER CHANGED

The Leafs expect defenceman Tomas Kaberle and Mike Van Ryn, and possibly forward John Mitchell, back in the lineup tonight.

To make room, the Leafs assigned defencemen Jaime Sifers and Anton Stralman to the Marlies.

Veteran defenceman Jeff Finger (upper body injury) practiced yesterday but is not ready to return to the lineup.

INTERESTING WORDS

Tim Stapleton, who was called up from the Marlies for the Leafs' game Thursday in Long Island, studied criminology at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. When asked what kind of career that degree could get him, Stapleton replied: "I don't know. But something I don't want to do."


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