(Reuters) - Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw has been suspended three games for hitting Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith in Game Two of the Western Conference quarter-final, the National Hockey League said on Wednesday.
Smith was playing the puck behind his net during Saturday’s game when Shaw raced in and hit him in the head with his left shoulder, sending the Coyotes goalie crashing to the ice.
Shaw was assessed a major penalty for charging and a game misconduct in the second period of Chicago’s 4-3 overtime road win.
“The contact Shaw makes with Smith is not incidental,” NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan said in a video on the league’s website. “Rather, it is a forceful blow delivered by Shaw’s shoulder to Smith’s chin. Also, in our opinion, Shaw does not make a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.”
When making the decision, Shanahan said the league took into consideration that Smith stayed in the game and did not suffer an apparent injury and that Shaw has not been fined or suspended in his 37-game NHL career.
The first-round best-of-seven series, tied at 1-1, resumes Tuesday in Chicago at 9 p.m. (0100 GMT).
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Steve Keating