Columbus Blue Jackets Captain Nick Foligno was suspended for three games and will have to forfeit almost $90,000 after the league ruled that his massive hit over the weekend on Colorado Avalanche forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was intentional elbowing.
Foligno, 32, was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct following a game-ending hit on Bellemare during the end of the second period Saturday night.
With the Blue Jackets trailing by a goal with just 2:45 left in the period, Bellemare took a pass off the boards in the neutral zone unaware that a 6’0 210 pound Foligno was speedily approaching from his defensive end.
“As Bellemare dumps the puck, Foligno continues toward him and attempts to make contact, extending his elbow and making direct contact with Bellmare’s jaw,” NHL Department of Player Safety said in a video ruling on the hit. “This is elbowing.”
“It is important to note that Foligno is in control of this contact. This is an attempted body check, and cannot be classified as excusable or accidental contact where Foligno raises his arm reflexively to brace for sudden contact or to attempt to avoid a collision.”
Officials noted that Foligno was outside the zone for a legal body check and extended his elbow in order to “avoid missing the check entirely.”
Foligno was suspended for three games as a result and will have to forfeit $88,709.67 of his salary to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.
Bellemare is out with a concussion and it was not clear when he would return. The Avalanche went on to win Saturday’s game 4-2.