NEW YORK, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- The NHL said Monday it has suspended Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand for five games for what it called a "predatory" hit to Vancouver's Sami Salo.
Marchand, a repeat offender on disciplinary action for illegal hits, earned the suspension two days after he upended Salo with a low hit to the legs, causing the Canucks defenseman to fall backward awkwardly and hit the back of his head on the ice.
Salo sustained a concussion on the play, which prompted Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis to call the hit "a dirty play by a dirty player."
Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli said Marchand was merely defending himself on the play, but NHL Director of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan disagreed.
"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," Shanahan said.
"Rather, we feel this is a predatory, low hit delivered intentionally by Marchand in order to flip his opponent over," he added.
Marchand received a 5-minute major clipping penalty and a game misconduct in Vancouver 's 4-3 defeat of the Bruins.