NHL suspends Boulton six games for elbow hit

Atlanta Thrashers forward Eric Boulton was suspended for six games without pay by the NHL on Monday for elbowing Tampa Bay's Paul Ranger in the head.

"It is clear Mr. Boulton's actions were careless and caused injury to his opponent," said Colin Campbell, the NHL's executive vice president and director of hockey operations. "There is no circumstance that can justify this type of action."

Boulton received a major penalty and a game misconduct for elbowing Ranger late in the third period of the Thrashers' 6-0 loss Thursday night. Ranger sustained a hairline fracture of the jaw and a concussion.

The hit has prompted a slew of outraged responses from across the league -- including a profanity-laced tirade from Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella, who apologized for his language on Friday.

Boulton, who has already served the first game of the suspension, will forfeit about $15,306, with the money going to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund. He will be eligible to return Nov. 5 at Philadelphia.

The 6-0, 224-pound Boulton reportedly waived his right to a meeting before the NHL Players' Association refused to grant his request for a quicker mandate.

Two weeks ago, Thrashers defenseman Andy Sutton was suspended for four games by the NHL after a hit on Toronto's Darcy Tucker left him with a bloodied forehead. Sutton will be eligible to return Thursday night at Pittsburgh.

Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.