The Winnipeg Jets weren’t going to have Neal Pionk for the next two games as he was given a suspension yesterday, but he will be out even longer than that. Pionk is in the concussion protocol according to team reporter Mitchell Clinton, and will not play tonight or travel with the team to Seattle and Vancouver this week.
Injured on a hit from Jason Spezza which triggered an in-person disciplinary hearing for the Maple Leafs forward, it’s unclear how long Pionk will actually be out of the lineup. For his part, Spezza faces a suspension that could eclipse five games, though that won’t be announced until later this afternoon (the hearing is ongoing as of this writing). Importantly, this injury sustained by Pionk will be considered and his absence could result in a longer suspension.
In his three years with the Jets, Pionk has turned into one of the team’s most important players, averaging over 22 minutes a night this season. His 16 points in 24 games lead all Winnipeg defenders, while he is just five hits behind Adam Lowry for the club lead in that category as well. The 6’0″ defender is no stranger to the rough stuff, having racked up more than 135 hits in each of his three full seasons in the league.