Toronto's Spezza suspended 6 games for kneeing Jets' Pionk

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Jason Spezza (19) controls the puck in front of Minnesota Wild center Rem Pitlick (16) during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

NEW YORK (AP) — Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jason Spezza was suspended for six games without pay by the NHL on Tuesday for kneeing Winnipeg Jets defenseman Neal Pionk.

In the third period of Sunday's game between the Jets and Maple Leafs, Pionk had a knee-on-knee hit on Toronto’s Rasmus Sandin. Sandin skated off the ice after the hit on his right knee. Pionk received a two-game suspension for that hit on Monday.

After the hit on Sandin, Spezza drove his left knee into the face of Pionk, who was without a stick and on his knees trying to clear a puck.

Spezza will forfeit $22,500 in salary under the players' labor deal. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

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