Montreal's Pacioretty gets suspended 3 games for hit on Penguins' Letang

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Montreal left winger Max Pacioretty was suspended for three games for his open-ice hit Saturday that left Penguins defenseman Kris Letang with a broken nose.

Letang is questionable for the game tonight in New York because of the injuries from the hit.

Brendan Shanahan, the NHL senior vice president of player safety and hockey operations, said in a video posted on the league's website that "Letang makes the decision to sacrifice his body and must accept the possibility of taking a hit to make the play. However, what no player should expect is that his head will be picked and made the principal point of contact on such a hit."

The collision came late in the third period. Letang missed the final 3:14 of regulation but returned and scored the winning goal in overtime of a 4-3 victory.

Letang missed the early portion of practice Monday at Southpointe to visit doctors for his nose as well for signs of a concussion. He said he will have an imPACT test today.

When asked about his playing status, Letang said: "All right so far. A problem breathing but that's part of it. I wanted to test it out there to see how I feel. We'll talk [today] with the [doctors]."

Coach Dan Bylsma was optimistic Letang would be available.

"I haven't spoken with him but he seemed to get in a pretty good skate in at the end of practice," Bylsma said. "I think he's doing fine right now."

When asked about the possibility of promoting defenseman Alexandre Picard from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Bylsma said, "We're not under the impression we need to recall someone right now."

Hot-button issue in Ottawa

The war of words over Sidney Crosby's elbow to the head of Senators forward Nick Foligno in a game Friday escalated in Ottawa.

Without any solicitation Sunday, Senators general manager Bryan Murray said: "The rules are very clear now. If you fall into a goaltender and touch a goaltender, an elbow to the head and a butt end to the head is fair game. Dan Bylsma said that's OK for them. Sidney said Nick Foligno is that kind of player."

Crosby's response?

"I heard about it. I think it's getting blown way out of proportion. It's ridiculous. It's a play that happens in every game. I guess the fact that it's me, it's dissected and analyzed a hundred times more. I really think they're making something out of nothing. If they want to keep beating it around, they can. I don't have anything else to say about it. I think it's ridiculous we're still talking about it three days later to be honest with you."

This isn't the first time Murray has criticized Crosby. In 2007, while Ottawa's coach, Murray complained that Crosby used too much vulgarity on the ice.

"He's been doing that since my first year so that's nothing new," Crosby said.

Bylsma declined comment.

Rival fires coach

The Washington Capitals, a primary rival of the Penguins, fired coach Bruce Boudreau and replaced him with former captain Dale Hunter.

Backup goaltender Brent Johnson played for Boudreau for parts of two seasons in Washington, and he doesn't expect Boudreau to be unemployed for long.

"I thought Bruce was a good coach. They wanted to go a different way obviously," Johnson said. "You see great coaches going from a team to another team and another team. It won't be long before Bruce is back to work again somewhere. I think he'll be back behind the bench."

The Penguins are scheduled to face the Capitals on Thursday.

"I do think it's certainly going to add a spark to the game coming up with their new coach coming in and us being an opponent shortly after Bruce getting fired." Bylsma said. "So I'm expecting it to really be a charged up and energized game."

Prospects invited to camp

Defensive prospects Joseph Morrow and Scott Harrington were invited to Canada's selection camp for the 2012 world junior championships. Morrow was a first-round choice this past summer; Harrington was selected in the second round.

Morrow, has 24 points in 22 games with the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League; Harrington has 13 points in 22 games with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.


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