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Flames' Kostopoulos suspended six games for hit to head

TORONTO (Reuters) - Calgary Flames forward Tom Kostopoulos has been suspended six games for a vicious hit that will sideline Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brad Stuart for about eight weeks with a broken jaw, the NHL said Sunday.

Kostopoulos, who was assessed a minor penalty on the play, will also forfeit nearly $30,000 for the incident during his team's 5-4 shootout loss Friday.

Stuart needed help to get to his feet after the hit, which occurred midway through the third period of the game, and left a large pool of blood on the ice.

The NHL said a number of factors, including the fact that Stuart was not in possession of the puck when the blow was delivered, had been considered in reaching the decision -- one of the stiffest penalties handed down this season.

The NHL said Kostopoulos will be eligible to return January 22 at Vancouver.

(Writing by Frank Pingue, Editing by Ossian Shine)