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Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson suspended two games for slash

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A surprising omission from the U.S. team, Erik Johnson’s Olympic break will be a little longer than most.

The National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced Tuesday that the Colorado Avalanche defenseman has been suspended for two games for slashing New York Islanders forward Frans Nielsen during Saturday’s contest in New York.

With his team shorthanded at the time; Johnson came down on Nielsen’s thumb with his stick as the forward tried to wrap the puck around the boards. Nielsen was injured on the play, which factored in to the suspension.

A video explanation of the league's decision can be found here.

As part of his suspension, Johnson will forfeit $38,461.54 in salary. The money will go into the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Johnson will miss games against the Los Angeles Kings (2/26) and the Phoenix Coyotes (2/28). He will be eligible to return on March 2, against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

This is the first suspension of Johnson’s seven-year career.