Tootoo punched Stars defenseman Robidas in the face

Updated: March 19, 2007, 10:18 PM ET
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TORONTO -- The NHL suspended Nashville Predators winger Jordin Tootoo five games for punching Dallas Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas in the face.

AP Photo/John Russell Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas is carried off the ice by medical personnel following an altercation with Predators right wing Jordin Tootoo.

Robidas was knocked unconscious on the play late in the third period Saturday night in a 3-2 Predators win in Nashville.

"While a player is entitled to defend himself, Mr. Tootoo's forceful blow to Robidas' head was an overly aggressive and inappropriate response," NHL senior executive vice-president and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell said in a statement Monday.

Robidas, who was coming to the defense of star center Mike Modano, was assessed a minor for charging on the play, and Tootoo received a double-minor for roughing.

Robidas was carried off the ice on a stretcher and was taken to hospital. He suffered a concussion and is out at least a week.

"We'll follow the protocol and make sure he's completely healthy," Stars coach Dave Tippett told the Dallas Morning News. "I can tell you that he feels very good. He doesn't seem to have any aftereffects."

In a statement, Tootoo said he thought Robidas was looking to fight.

"I take full responsibility for my actions and accept the consequences," said Tootoo. "I maintain my actions were taken in self-defense. I am sorry to see another player get injured and I wish Robidas well in his recovery."

Robidas said he was blindsided by the punch.

"There's different ways to see it, I guess, but what I remember is I went in and had my stick down and my gloves on," Robidas told the Dallas Morning News. "If I go in and try to jump him, that's my fault. But I'm just going in there to let him know, 'Hey, you don't hit Modano like that, and if you want to go, we'll go.' That's all I was doing. I wasn't going to jump him, but then, boom."

Predators general manager David Poile said the team disagreed with the suspension, but did not plan to appeal.

"Jordin was put in a very difficult situation with Robidas confronting him," Poile said in a telephone conference. "I don't know what he was supposed to do. All he could see was a player coming at him with his arms up and certainly looking like he's ready to enter into some form of confrontation. I think Jordin did what I think everybody would do, and he reacted and threw a punch."

The NHL also investigated Modano's slash to the back of Tootoo, but did not take disciplinary action, as reported in the Dallas Morning News.

The 24-year-old Tootoo has three goals, four assists and 104 penalty minutes in 61 games this season. Robidas has 17 assists and 82 penalty minutes in 71 games.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this story.