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NHL suspends Jets defenceman Brenden Dillon for 3 games after illegal hit on Penguins forward

The NHL has suspended Winnipeg Jets defenceman Brenden Dillon for three games for an illegal check to the head of Pittsburgh forward Noel Acciari.

Dillon hit Acciari in the head with his left shoulder four minutes into the second period of the Jets’ 3-0 loss in Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

Dillon was given a match penalty and ejected, while Acciari left the game because of an injury and did not return.

“He’s doing OK but being evaluated right now,” coach Mike Sullivan said of Acciari after his team’s 3-0 win. “Our major concern is Noel and his health.”

Dillon will forfeit about $61,000 US under terms of the collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the NHLPA.

It’s his second career suspension, after getting one game for slashing in 2017 while with the Sharks.

In a video explaining the length of the ban, the league said head contact was avoidable.

Acciari’s head ‘main point of contact’

While Acciari — who is five feet 10 inches tall — was bent forward, the league determined he did not change the placement of his head in the seconds prior to the hit from Dillon, who is six feet four inches tall.

“Dillon chooses an angle of approach that cuts across the front of Acciari’s body, missing his core and picking his head,” the league said.

“If Dillon wants to deliver this hit, he must choose an angle that hits through Acciari’s shoulder and core, rather than one that makes the head the main point of contact.”

He will be eligible to return when the Jets host San Jose next Wednesday.

Dillon has six goals, nine assists and a plus-16 rating in 48 games with the Jets this season.

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