ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Carolina Hurricanes forward Tuomo Ruutu has been suspended for three games by the NHL for his hit on Darcy Tucker of the Colorado Avalanche in Friday's game in Denver, coach Paul Maurice said today.
Ruutu hit Tucker from behind early in the second period of the Avs' 5-4 win, causing Tucker to bang his head into the glass. He received a five-minute boarding major penalty and game misconduct.
Tucker was knocked unconscious. He was removed from the ice on a backboard, but regained consciousness and was taken to a Denver hospital.
The play was reviewed by the league and the suspension handed down this morning. Under terms of the CBA, Ruutu will forfeit $59,067.36, which will go to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.
Maurice said the team has called up Brandon Sutter from the Albany River Rats of the AHL, the team's top minor-league affiliate. Sutter is expected to center the third line tonight against the Minnesota Wild.
"We're disappointed that we're going to lose an important player for three games," Maurice said today. "The league has a process, they have to go through it. We respect their decision.
"And, nobody ever likes to see a player get injured. We hope the best for Darcy Tucker and hope he has a speedy recovery."
Asked if he believed the hit warrented a suspension, Maurice said: "That's an excellent question. I think the league makes its decision and we all abide by it, regardless of our opinion.
"There were things not present in the hit that I'm glad weren't: he didn't leave his feet, it wasn't an elbow, Darcy wasn't four feet off the boards where it could have been a real catastrophic event. He was right on the boards.
"It was a very, very hard hit that had an unfortunate result. But I expect Tuomo to finish that check."
The Hurricanes now are missing Ruutu and forward Erik Cole, who is out with a leg fracture and has been placed on injured reserve. Defenseman Tim Gleason missed Friday's game with an upper body injury and is not expected to play tonight.
In the 2005-2006 season, Cole suffered a broken neck when hit from behind by Brooks Orpik of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Orpik received a three-game suspension.