NHL suspends Foligno for elbow on Bellemare

A harsh punishment for the captain. No consistency from NHL Player Safety yet again.

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The NHL’s Department of Player Safety has made its ruling on the hit Nick Foligno of the Columbus Blue Jackets made on Colorado’s Pierre-Edouard Bellemare Saturday night. Foligno will have three games to sit and contemplate his actions.

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In its ruling, DoPS stated Foligno extended his elbow on the play and made direct contract with Bellemare’s jaw, something which cannot be classified as “excusable or accidental.” It adds the onus was on Foligno in this situation to put himself in a position to make a clean check without using his elbow.

This is Foligno’s first suspension in a career spanning 13 seasons and 858 games. He was fined in 2010 while playing with the Ottawa Senators for or an illegal check to the head on Patrick Dwyer of the Carolina Hurricanes. It cost him $2500. DoPS noted that Foligno’s mostly clean history was taken into account when making its ruling.

Foligno expressed regret after the hit, saying “"I actually didn't know I hit him in the head at all. That's why I was kind of reacting the way I did, and then I saw the replay. There was no intent to hit him like that at all. I'm trying to line him up at the time, and he kind of turns back and makes that play and it just happens so fast. I felt sick to my stomach when I saw that I hit him in the head. It's an unfortunate collision. My main concern is that he's all right, and I got word from their locker room that he was feeling all right."

Bellemare is said to be in concussion protocol and won't play tomorrow against the Winnipeg Jets. Colorado head coach Jared Bednar said Bellemare is "feeling better," but he'll need to clear the league's protocol before retaking the ice.