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Nashville forward Scott Nichol suspended for nine games for punch to Spacek

The incident happened during Buffalo's 7-2 win Thursday night. Nichol was given a game misconduct for punching Spacek in the jaw when he wasn't looking, starting a scrum after Spacek's stick tripped him up and sent him into the goal post at 15:21 of the third period. Spacek finally got up a couple minutes later.

The suspension was issued Friday following a hearing conducted via conference call by NHL executive Colin Campbell.

"The punch by Mr. Nichol was deliberate, from behind, and it occurred after the referee's whistle had stopped play," Campbell, the NHL's senior executive vice-president of hockey operations, said in a statement. "While Mr. Spacek was injured and left the ice, it is expected he will be available to play in Buffalo's next game."

Nichol will be eligible to return Jan. 13 against Columbus.

Nichol will lose US$25,267.41 in salary. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

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