Flames’ Letourneau-Leblond suspended

Brendan Shanahan has handed out his first suspension since becoming the NHL’s dean of discipline, banning Calgary forward Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond for the rest of the preseason and the Flames’ first game of the regular season.

Letourneau-Leblond will miss five games, the last one being the regular-season opener against Pittsburgh on Oct. 8, for hitting Vancouver forward Matt Clackson from behind on Tuesday. Shanahan suspended Letourneau-Leblond on Thursday in his new role as the NHL senior vice president of player safety.

Letourneau-Leblond violated the league’s expanded boarding rule that was created during the offseason. Shanahan explained his decision in a brief video and said that Letourneau-Leblond ”took a direct route toward Clackson, hit him squarely from behind into the boards and drove through the check high and hard.

”Clackson’s back was turned toward Letourneau-Leblond well before the contact, requiring that Letourneau-Leblond avoid or minimize the check. He did neither.”

Players must now make sure that an opponent isn’t defenseless when a hit is delivered.

Letourneau-Leblond, who received a minor penalty for boarding, will lose $6,402.44 in salary and was punished for being a repeat offender. He is eligible to play on Oct. 10 at St. Louis.