NEW YORK – New Jersey defenceman Mike Mottau received a two-game suspension from the NHL on Saturday for elbowing New York Islanders forward Frans Nielsen.
The Devils announced the suspension the day after the game with the Islanders, and the NHL confirmed it later Saturday.
Mottau came across the ice 3:22 into the third period and caught Nielsen with an elbow that laid out the centre. Nielsen had to be helped off the ice with head and leg injuries.
Nielsen is expected to be sidelined eight to 12 weeks due to multiple injuries to his right leg, the Islanders said Saturday. A team spokesman declined to give specifics, but said surgery wasn’t planned. The team added that the 24-year-old didn’t sustain a concussion.
Trent Hunter immediately came to Nielsen’s defence after the hit and fought Mottau, earning an instigator penalty and a misconduct in addition to the fighting major. Those penalties wiped out the power play the Islanders would have had for Mottau’s initial hit, which drew only a minor penalty for elbowing.
New York captain Bill Guerin compared it to the elbow by Islanders defenceman Thomas Pock on Ottawa’s Ryan Shannon. Pock is currently serving a five-game suspension for that hit.
“I know it was to the head,” Guerin said. “I know Mike Mottau. He’s not a dirty player, but it was a dirty hit. Thomas Pock is not a dirty player, but he had a dirty hit against Ottawa and he paid for it.”
Mottau will lose US$8,198.92 in salary for the suspension and will sit out at Tampa Bay on Sunday and at Florida on Wednesday. He is eligible to return next Saturday at Pittsburgh.