Winnipeg defenceman Pionk suspended two games for knee-on-knee hit

Dec 5, 2021; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets defenseman Neal Pionk (4) skates away from Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jason Spezza (19) during the first period at Canada Life Centre. Mandatory Credit: Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK — Winnipeg defenceman Neal Pionk was suspended two games Monday for a knee-on-knee hit delivered to Toronto blue-liner Rasmus Sandin in the third period of the Jets' 6-3 win over the Maple Leafs on Sunday.

Also on Monday, Leafs forward Wayne Simmonds was slapped with a fine for a cross-check he applied to Winnipeg Jets forward Jansen Harkins during the same game.

The NHL's department of player safety docked Simmonds $2,250, the maximum allowable under the league's collective bargaining agreement, for laying his stick into the back of Harkins during the third period of the Toronto road loss.

Meanwhile, Leafs centre Jason Spezza has been offered an in-person hearing with the league and will likely be suspended for kneeing Pionk in the head, which came after the Winnipeg players' knee-on-knee contact with Sandin.

In-person hearings are required for any suspension that could be at least six games. The date and time of Spezza's hearing have not been announced.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 6, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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