Toronto Maple Leafs\' Niklas Hagman (9) falls to the ice after taking a hit from New York Islanders\' Brendan Witt in the third period of Thursday\'s game. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Julie Jacobson
TORONTO - It didn't take the National Hockey League very long to punish Brendan Witt.
The New York Islanders defenceman has been suspended five games by the NHL after elbowing Toronto's Niklas Hagman in the head on Thursday night.
"We are disappointed to lose a player of Brendan's calibre and character for this period of time, but we understand the league's concerns regarding hits to the head," Islanders general manager Garth Snow said in a statement.
Witt received a five-minute penalty and game misconduct on a play that left Hagman weak-kneed and woozy. The Maple Leafs forward has already missed time this season with a concussion and was sent home after the game for further evaluation.
The 34-year-old Witt will forfeit US$74,372.75 in salary and is eligible to return to the Islanders lineup on March 10 against the Maple Leafs.