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Blackhawks’ Dan Carcillo suspended two games for hit

Chicago Blackhawks v CarolinHurricanes

Chicago Blackhawks v Carolina Hurricanes

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Updated: December 1, 2011 8:42AM

Though Blackhawks forward Daniel Carcillo wasn’t called for a penalty on the play, the NHL wanted to have more than just a word with him about his hit on the Carolina Hurricanes’ Joni Pitkanen.

Carcillo had a disciplinary hearing Saturday afternoon before the league announced he was suspended for two games in a video explanation by Rob Blake of the NHL Department of Player Safety.

“It’s a tough pill to swallow right now,” Carcillo said. “I thought I was doing a pretty good job of making safe hits. I’ve never been suspended for a hit, and I’ve made hundreds every year.”

The hit occurred less than two minutes into the first period of the Hawks’ 3-0 loss to the Hurricanes on Friday at the RBC Center.

Pitkanen raced to the puck to the left of his own net with Carcillo following before Carcillo appeared to push the Hurricanes forward from behind. Pitkanen crashed into the end boards, and Carcillo tumbled on top of him. No penalty was called.

Pitkanen left the ice but eventually returned to the game and played the most minutes of any Hurricanes player.

Carcillo didn’t detail what he said in his defense, but he told reporters he didn’t think twice about the play at the time.

“[Pitkanen] was trying to shield me from the puck, and he was doing his job and I don’t really know what else I could have done in that situation to make it less careless or less reckless the way they described it,” Carcillo said. “He lost his edge and he went down and here I am sitting out two games.”

Coach Joel Quenneville said he was notified after the game that the league would review the play.

“I watched the play, and you can look at the play and [Pitkanen] is off-balance before there’s contact. That’s how I saw it,” Quenneville said. “So whether he touched him or not, he was going down prior to getting hit.”

However, Blake said in the video that Pitkanen’s “balance [was] intact and his feet [were] planted securely on the ice.”

Carcillo missed the game Saturday against the Blue Jackets and will sit out Monday against the Nashville Predators at the United Center. He now has been suspended five times in his career for a total of 12 games, which Blake said was a factor in Carcillo’s suspension.

“Although we agree with Carcillo’s assertion and factored in that he’s a physical player who has never faced supplemental discipline for an illegal body check in the past, we still can’t ignore the fact that he has been fined and suspended multiple times in his NHL career,” Blake said in the video.

Carcillo said several of his teammates were surprised by the ban, though he wasn’t.

“There’s not too much leeway for me in this league,” Carcillo said. “Maybe [I should] give some serious thought into changing my last name or something.”

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