Neal Pionk Suspended Two Games for Knee-On-Knee

The NHL Department of Player Safety announced that Winnipeg Jets defenceman Neal Pionk has been suspended for two games.

Neal Pionk Suspended

Neal Pionk has been suspended for two games for a kneeing Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Rasmus Sandin.

The incident occurred during the third period in a tightly contested game between the two Canadian clubs last night. Five minutes into the third, with Winnipeg up by two goals, Toronto was applying pressure on a four-on-four when Neal Pionk extended his knee into the skating lane of Rasmus Sandin and took him out.

Sandin laid on the ice, having trouble getting to the bench on his own. Retaliation ensued just moments later when Pionk tried to clear the zone from his knees. Jason Spezza took it upon himself to police the game and kneed the defenseless Pionk in the head as he tried to swat the puck away while in a vulnerable position.

This led to tempers flaring, with fights breaking out and turning the third period into, what Auston Matthews called, “a gong-show”.

Going Forward

Jason Spezza will have an in-person hearing tomorrow to determine what level of supplementary discipline will follow his retaliatory hit on the Jets’ defenseman.

Sandin is expected to be out for two to three weeks. No word yet on whether Travis Dermott, who has been a regular in the press box this season, will get to dress in place of Sandin.

As for Pionk, we know the punishment which he will face. The Winnipeg Jets will be without their serviceable defenceman for upcoming games against the Carolina Hurricanes and Seattle Kraken.

So far this season, he scored two goals and 14 assists for 16 points. He also added 14 minutes in penalties across 24 games played.

Pionk was signed by the New York Rangers as an undrafted college free agent on May 1, 2017. He was part of the 2019 trade that saw the Jets bring over the defenceman for Jacob Trouba.

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