The NHL announced Wednesday that Dallas Stars forward Steve Ott will receive a three-game suspension for his Sunday hit on Colorado defenseman Jordan Leopold.
In a press release, the league stated:
"Dallas Stars' forward Steve Ott has been suspended for three games, without pay, as a result of delivering a hit to the head of Colorado Avalanche defenseman Jordan Leopold during NHL game #1043 on March 9. Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Ott will forfeit $12,834.21. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund. Ott will miss Thursday's game at Detroit, March 15 against Vancouver and March 19 against Anaheim. He will be eligible to return March 22 against Los Angeles."
The incident occurred at 12:31 of the first period. No penalty was assessed on the play. On most video replays, Ott appeared to leave his feet to make a hit on Leopold against the boards. He struck Leopold in the head with his elbow. Leopold left the game because of a head injury and did not play Tuesday night in Colorado's 5-2 win over Atlanta.
NHL director of operations Colin Campbell in the preseason announced the league would crack down on hits to the head after Philadelphia's Steve Downie received a 20-game suspension for a hit to Ottawa's Dean McAmmond. Among the criteria for suspension at the time were: when a player launches himself by leaving his feet to hit a player in the head area, as well as the timing or lateness of the hit.
This is Ott's first suspension.
"We had a chance to state our case and we did that and we'll live with the decision of the league," Stars co-GM Les Jackson said of the conference call he and Ott had with the league on Tuesday.
Ott was centering a line with Loui Eriksson and Jere Lehtinen and will likely be replaced by Stu Barnes, Joel Lundqvist or Toby Petersen.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Ott will forfeit $12,834.21. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Ott will miss Thursday’s game at Detroit, March 15 against Vancouver and March 19 against Anaheim. He will be eligible to return March 22 against Los Angeles.