SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - It appears the American Hockey League is also coming down hard on hits to the head.
Former NHL defenceman Dale Purinton of the Lake Erie Monsters has been suspended by the AHL for 25 games for a hit to the head of Iowa Stars forward Marius Holtet.
The suspension comes after the NHL recently suspended Flyers forward Steve Downie 20 games and teammate Jesse Boulerice 25 games, both were for hits to the head.
Holtet suffered a concussion and was not expected in the lineup for his team's road game against the Milwaukee Admirals on Friday.
Purinton was assessed a match penalty with no time remaining in the second period for punching an unsuspecting opponent and causing injury on Wednesday.
"An incident such as this has no place in our game," AHL president David Andrews said in announcing the suspension Friday. "Mr. Purinton struck Marius Holtet in the head from behind with a gloved fist after the completion of play.
"This was a dangerous and deliberate action by a player who is a repeat offender."
Purinton, 31, played minor hockey in Calgary and has bounced around since helping the Lethbridge Hurricanes reach the Memorial Cup final in 1997.
The NHL suspended him for 10 games on Oct. 4, 2005, when he was with the New York Rangers, for an attempt to eye-gouge Colton Orr in a pre-season game.
During 2004-05, when he was playing for the ECHL's Victoria Salmon Kings, he was suspended for refusing to stop fighting and pulling the hair of an opponent. The Salmon Kings released him.
Other NHL suspensions include a three-game ban in February 2002 for a sucker-punch on Jason Blake of the New York Islanders; seven games in October 2001 for a cross-check to the head of Washington's Stephen Peat; four games for beating up goaltender Garth Snow in a pre-season game in September 2001.
He last played an NHL game in 2003-2004. In 181 NHL games, Purinton scored four goals and assisted on 16 while amassing 578 penalty minutes.
Holtet, 23, had one goal in five games this season. He was selected 42nd overall by the Dallas Stars in the 2002 NHL entry draft. It was the higheset a Norwegian-born player had been drafted in league history.