The NHL suspends Colorado Avalanche’s Jacob MacDonald two games for hit on Minnesota Wild’s Ryan Hartman

NEW YORK – Colorado Avalanche defender Jacob MacDonald was banned on Thursday for two games without payment for an illegal check to the head on Minnesota Wild striker Ryan Hartman.

The NHL player safety said the contact was avoidable for MacDonald, who approached Hartman with a back check and hit him on the ice with a sideways strike in the opening period of the game on Wednesday in Minnesota.

The piece went unpunished, drawing boos from the limited crowd at Xcel Energy Center as the replay was shown on the video board. MacDonald pointed to his shoulder as he looked at it and seemed to be claiming that he had clipped Hartman there and not his head.

MacDonald has one goal, six assists and a plus-13 rating in 27 games this season. He will forfeit $ 12,500 based on his average annual salary.