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Kings' Sean O'Donnell suspended, will miss first two regular-season games

September 23, 2009 |  5:30 pm

The NHLon Wednesday suspended Kings defenseman Sean O'Donnell for the team's final three exhibition games and the first two games of the regular season as the result of a match penalty he was assessed for cross-checking Matt Martin of the New York Islanders during an exhibition game Tuesday in Kansas City.

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But Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi said he has no problem with O'Donnell sticking up for a teammate while the Islanders were harrassing the Kings' young players, specifically O'Donnell's defense partner, Drew Doughty.

"It was a fairly chippy game and up to that point I thought some of the runs they were taking at our better young players were on the edge," Lombardi said by phone from Denver, where the Kings are facing the Avalanche.

"Martin threw what we thought was a blatant elbow at Drew. O'Donnell basically said, 'Enough is enough.' We thought the response was appropriate but the issue came down to whether [O'Donnell] got him with the stick."

Lombardi said he was encouraged to see players standing up for one another. "Two years ago we had to sit back and watch the team not respond," Lombardi said. "That's not going to happen again."

O'Donnell got the match penalty at 16:37 of the second period. The Kings, in a hearing with NHL officials conducted via conference call, contended that O'Donnell had hit Martin in the shoulder, not the head, but they didn't win that argument.

There was no tape of the incident, Lombardi said, "so all they had was eyewitness testimony of the officials and our guys, and that was it."

Here's the Associated Press account of the game, with a passing mention of O'Donnell's transgression

Lombardi said he feels bad only that O'Donnell won't be paid for the two regular-season games that he's not eligible to play. "I've got to find some way to employ him so he can get the money back," Lombardi said. "Say that I said that tongue-in-cheek."

Done.

NHL disciplinarians were busy Wednesday, as they also suspended Phoenix's Francis Lessard for a hit on the Ducks' Ryan Donally last Friday. Lessard gets to miss two exhibition games and three regular-season games.

More later at www.latimes.com/sports.

-- Helene Elliott

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