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Bruins' Marchand hit with 5-game suspension

The National Hockey League issued a five-game suspension, without pay, to Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand on Monday, for actions during Saturday's contest with the Vancouver Canucks.

Marchand received a major for clipping and a game misconduct in the early stages of the second period in a 4-3 Vancouver win, after issuing a low hit to the legs of Canucks defenseman Sami Salo, causing the veteran Swedish defenseman to flip over Marchand's back and fall to the ice in an awkward fashion.

"While we understand that in certain circumstances that a player may duck or bail instinctively in order to protect themselves from an imminent and dangerous check, we do not view this play as either defensive or instinctive," said NHL director of player safety Brendan Shanahan.

"Rather, we feel this is a predatory, low hit delivered intentionally by Marchand in order to flip his opponent over. Further, Salo is not coming at Marchand with great speed, nor in a threatening posture. To be clear: we do not consider this to be a defensive act where there were no other options available to Marchand."

The 23-year-old Nova Scotia native is a repeat offender, having been issued a two-game ban this past March, and was penalized according to the number of games in the season rather than the number of days.

He will forfeit $152,439.02 in salary, which goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund and will not be eligible to return until a January 19 contest against the New Jersey Devils.

A key member of the Bruins' Stanley Cup winners from a season ago, Marchand has totaled 16 goals and 32 points in 37 games for the Eastern Conference's second-best club.