December 29, 2018 / 3:19 AM / 8 months ago

NHL suspends Bruins' Backes 3 games for head hit

The NHL on Friday suspended Boston Bruins forward David Backes three games without pay for what the league called “an illegal check to the head” of New Jersey Devils forward Blake Coleman.

Dec 11, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Backes (42) reacts after getting injured during the first period against the Arizona Coyotes at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The hit happened during the Devils’ 5-2 victory in Boston on Thursday. With two minutes remaining in the game, Backes skated from the left circle into the slot and put his shoulder into Coleman’s face as Coleman cleared the puck. Backes drew a minor penalty on the play.

It is Backes’ second three-game suspension in the 2018 calendar year, the first coming in March for a late hit on Detroit’s Frans Nielsen.

He will forfeit $219,512.19 during the suspension.

The suspension will also keep Backes out of the NHL’s marquee game of the regular season. The Bruins play the Chicago Blackhawks on New Year’s Day in the Winter Classic at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind. The annual outdoor showcase is the second of the three games Backes will miss.

Boston plays at Buffalo on Saturday and hosts Calgary on Thursday.

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters on Friday that forward Brad Marchand will likely miss the game against the Sabres after taking a couple of high hits against the Devils.

“We’ll have a much better idea on him (Saturday),” Cassidy said. “Doesn’t look likely for him (Saturday), would be my guess. But he’s traveling with us, so that could change.”

And the team placed defenseman Charlie McAvoy on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. He will miss the game Saturday but will travel and could play in the Winter Classic.

—Field Level Media

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