The NHL has suspended Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson for two games following his hit from behind against the Sabres' Jason Pominville on Tuesday.
The two-game decision sets up a possibly contentious rematch Saturday when the Sabres visit the Blackhawks. Chicago plays Nashville on Wednesday and Columbus on Friday, making Hjalmarsson eligible to return Saturday for the meeting in United Center.
"It’ll get taken care of either with the league," Sabres right Patrick Kaleta said this afternoon before the decision was handed down, "or I think we play them Saturday, so we’ll make a point that you can’t be taking hits like that against one of our leaders and one of the better players on our team."
Hjalmarsson had a meeting with NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell this afternoon following his five-minute boarding major and game misconduct Tuesday night. The hit left Pominville concussed and cut, with seven or eight stitches needed to close the gash above his eye. There is no timetable for the return of Pominville, who will have his streak of 336 consecutive games played broken Wednesday when New Jersey visits HSBC Arena.
"He’s doing OK," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said today. "He’s at home resting. He still has some symptoms, but he’s feeling better, so hopefully he just progresses. As soon as the symptoms are gone, you start to progress with him. You start to get him exercise.
"Typically, in these cases, that can take any amount of time. Obviously, you’ve got to factor in when a player doesn’t have any fitness for three, four, five days, then it takes a few days to get back in the grind, too.
"We’re just hoping first and foremost that he starts feeling well in the next few days."
The suspension was the second two-game sitting handed out by the league today. It also gave New York Islanders defenseman James Wisniewski two games for making a lewd gesture to the Rangers' Sean Avery.