Dan Carcillo suspended 7 games

PHILADELPHIA -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Dan Carcillo has been suspended for seven games by the league's department of player safety, the NHL announced Wednesday evening.

It's Carcillo's third suspension this season. The first was a two-game suspension for a hit on the Carolina Hurricanes' Joni Pitkanen on Oct. 28. The second was served during the first two games of the season and was assessed for an off-ice altercation with officials during the playoffs last season.

He will begin serving the current suspension on Thursday in Philadelphia.

Carcillo was called for boarding on Edmonton defenseman Tom Gilbert in the second period of Monday's 4-3 loss to the Oilers. He was given a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct while he and Gilbert both left the game with knee injuries.

"This is a 50/50 puck that either player can win," league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan said. "In such cases a reasonable amount of physical contact is permissible as the players jostle for position. However, on this play Carcillo slows up and gets behind Gilbert just as Gilbert begins slowing down and bracing himself for some contact, Carcillo explodes into him causing a violent crash into the boards."

Both players were chasing the puck after Carcillo dumped it in behind the Oilers' net before Carcillo shoved Gilbert hard into the end boards.

"It's tough to tell because you know the guy," Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said Wednesday afternoon. "He's your friend, he's your teammate. It is a dangerous sport and we've been talking about suspensions and head shots and different places that we have to be careful. Obviously he has a bit of a reputation so that may play into it but again, you stand behind him. He's a physical player, he's going out there trying to create energy for our team. It's unfortunate both players kind of came out of it with an injury, so we'll see what happens here."

The boarding rule says Carcillo must decide if Gilbert is in a vulnerable position and act appropriately.

"The onus is on the player applying the check to ensure that his opponent is not in a defenseless position and if so, he must act to avoid or minimize contact," the rule states.

Shanahan cited Carcillo's history of suspensions, including one for the hit on Pitkanen in October, plus Gilbert's injury as reasons for the length of the suspension. Carcillo will lose $66,158 in salary after forfeiting $8,378 for the earlier ban.

"At an extremely dangerous distance from the boards Carcillo finished high and hard with his hands using the boards as a weapon," Shanahan said.

Jesse Rogers covers the Blackhawks for ESPN1000 and ESPNChicago.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.