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Penguins notebook: Enforcer Sestito suspended 4 games for boarding

| Thursday, March 9, 2017, 7:42 p.m.
USA Today Sports
Penguins forward Tom Sestito challenges Jets right wing Chris Thorburn (22) to a fight at the faceoff during the first period Wednesday, March 8, 2017.

Tom Sestito was suspended for four games after sending Winnipeg defenseman Tobias Enstrom crashing head-first into the boards with a hit from behind Wednesday night.

Enstrom was taken to the hospital to be checked out for possible facial fractures, according to reports.

It was the second career boarding suspension for Sestito.

He was suspended for two exhibition games and two regular-season games for a 2011 hit while playing for the Flyers.

The video explaining the suspension released by the NHL's department of player safety noted players have a responsibility to avoid putting themselves in vulnerable positions, especially near the boards but that Sestito had plenty of time to minimize the force of the hit and chose not to.

“A player turning his back shortly before contact is not an open invitation for his opponent to take advantage of the situation with impunity,” the video said.

Sestito was called up Wednesday and played three shifts in the game. On the first, he fought Chris Thorburn. On the third, he hit Enstrom.

“I know Tommy's intent isn't to injure,” coach Mike Sullivan said before the suspension was handed down. “... I know his intent is just to try to play the game hard.”

Injury report

In an effort to tamp down speculation, Sullivan gave an update on the condition of defenseman Kris Letang late Wednesday night.

“It's not a concussion. It's not related to a stroke or anything of that nature. Kris has an upper-body injury,” Sullivan said.

“He's rehabbing the injury at home as we speak. We're hopeful here that he'll have a quick turnaround and we'll get him back in the lineup. All of that speculation surrounding that other stuff, we'd rather confirm it's not that.”

Patric Hornqvist, meanwhile, was sent home Wednesday when he was diagnosed with a concussion.

There is no timetable for the return of either player.

Forwards Matt Cullen, Carl Hagelin and Scott Wilson did not practice Thursday in Edmonton. Sullivan said they had the day off for maintenance.

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