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Tampa Bay Lightning wing Mattias Ritola suspended two games for hit on New York Islanders' Matt Moulson

PHILADELPHIA — LW Mattias Ritola said he did not mean to hit Islanders F Matt Moulson from behind or hit him with an elbow in the back of the head.

No matter. The NHL on Thursday suspended Ritola for two games for the check during Wednesday's second period. Moulson, whose head bounced off the glass at Nassau Coliseum, crumpled to the ice but stayed in the game.

"I feel bad about it," said Ritola, 23, who will forfeit $5,555.92 to the Players Emergency Assistance Fund and is eligible to play Monday against the Bruins. "I feel like he turned exactly when I got there. I didn't mean to hurt him at all."

"He's trying to win a job in the NHL, and every shift is important to him," GM Steve Yzerman said. "He's never been suspended before. He's never gotten a major penalty. He's not an overly physical kind of player."

The five-minute charging penalty was Ritola's first penalty of the season. Yzerman and Ritola explained all that on a conference call to league disciplinarian Colin Campbell, though Yzerman said after he first watched the replay he believed Ritola would be suspended for two games.

Coach Guy Boucher called the punishment fair.

"That's a big thing, hitting guys from behind," Ritola said. "I'm going to keep that in mind and won't do it again."

SURPRISE SCRATCH: D Randy Jones, one of the Lightning's best penalty killers, was a late scratch against the Flyers on Thursday with a lower-body injury. Jones skated in warmups but had been limping slightly.

UGLY INCIDENT: W Dana Tyrell had no doubt Flyers D Andrej Meszaros targeted his knees with a third-period hit.

"A dirty hit," Tyrell called it.

The play occurred with 3:23 left in the period. Meszaros, a former Lightning, submarined Tyrell and got two minutes for clipping (going for the knees) and two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct for throwing his stick into the penalty box,

"I went to hit the guy, and I don't know," Meszaros said. "The referee called it, so I don't care. I mean, I don't think it was a penalty."

HELENIUS UPDATE: Assistant GM Tom Kurvers said Finnish goalie prospect Riku Helenius was contrite about being stopped by police in Sweden with a blood-alcohol level of .03 percent.

Sweden assumes a driver is impaired at .02.

"It's an error made by a young man," said Kurvers, who met with Helenius in Sweden, where he plays for Sodertalje. "Sometimes bad things happen to people and they turn into good turning points in their lives."

Helenius, 21, drafted 15th overall in 2006, was pulled over on the way to practice, Kurvers said, though it is not clear if he was arrested.

"He acknowledged the error and apologized properly and publicly and to his team," Kurvers said. "He's ready to move forward. … We're sticking with him."

ODDS AND ENDS: D Matt Smaby was scratched after aggravating an ankle sprain in a recent practice, Boucher said. … D Victor Hedman played despite a left shoulder injury from a check from Islanders C Zenon Konopka. … C James Wright and D Matt Roy were called up from AHL Norfolk. Both played.

Tampa Bay Lightning wing Mattias Ritola suspended two games for hit on New York Islanders' Matt Moulson 11/18/10 [Last modified: Friday, November 19, 2010 9:23am]
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