Jets’ Dillon gets 3-game ban for hit to the head

Sports

NEW YORK — Winnipeg Jets defenseman Brenden Dillon has been suspended three games for an illegal check to the head of Pittsburgh Penguins forward Noel Acciari.

The suspension was announced by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety after a disciplinary hearing.

Dillon hit Acciari in the head with his left shoulder four minutes into the second period of Tuesday’s game in Pittsburgh. Dillon was given a match penalty and ejected, while Acciari left the game because of an injury and did not return.

“He’s doing OK but being evaluated right now,” coach Mike Sullivan said of Acciari after his team’s 3-0 win. “Our major concern is Noel and his health.”

Dillion will forfeit $60,938 in salary and miss upcoming games at Philadelphia and at home against Pittsburgh and San Jose. It’s his second career suspension after getting one game for slashing in 2017 while with the Sharks.

The league in a video explaining the length of the ban said head contact was avoidable. While the 5-foot-10 Acciari was bent forward, the league determined he did not change the placement of his head in the seconds prior to the hit from Dillon, who’s 6-foot-4.

“Dillon chooses an angle of approach that cuts across the front of Acciari’s body, missing his core and picking his head,” the league said. “If Dillon wants to deliver this hit, he must choose an angle that hits through Acciari’s shoulder and core, rather than one that makes the head the main point of contact.”

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