Sharks captain Joe Thornton given two-game suspension for head hit

TORONTO – San Jose Sharks captain Joe Thornton was suspended two games Friday after being penalized for the NHL’s new rule on head hits.

Thornton was ejected from Thursday’s game in St. Louis after hitting forward David Perron in the neutral zone. He had just come out of the penalty box and the Blues forward didn’t appear to see him before getting hit.

The only other player to be suspended for a blindside hit to the head is Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan, who received a three-game ban last month. Two others have received a $2,500 fine.

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Thornton was surprised to have been thrown out of Thursday’s game under Rule 48, saying “he just ran into me, to be honest with you.”

The Sharks captain will be eligible to return to the lineup on Nov. 11 against the New York Islanders. He will forfeit US$77,419.36 in salary.