Anaheim Ducks center Antoine Vermette knows a thing or two about faceoffs. The veteran center has won 62% of his draws this season, tops among players with at least 30 draws.
Unfortunately for him, he’ll be sidelined for quite a few upcoming draws due to an unprovoked slash of a linesman after a faceoff.
Vermette has been suspended 10 games for abuse of officials after slashing linesman Shandor Alphonso at 7:33 of the third period of Tuesday night’s game against the Minnesota Wild.
Once referees Tom Kowal and Jon McIsaac ejected Vermette, the process shifted to NHL Hockey Operations. Hockey Ops, not Player Safety, handles the review and, ultimately, the determination of discipline.
The NHL rule book has a very specific set of punishments laid of for Physical Abuse of Officials.
40.1 Game Misconduct – Any player who deliberately applies physical force in any manner against an official, in any manner attempts to injure an official, physically demeans, or deliberately applies physical force to an official solely for the purpose of getting free of such an official during or immediately following an altercation shall receive a game misconduct penalty. In addition, the following (40.2, 40.3, 40.4) disciplinary penalties shall apply.
40.3 Automatic Suspension – Category II – Any player who deliberately applies physical force to an official in any manner (excluding actions as set out in Category I), which physical force is applied without intent to injure, or who spits on an official, shall be automatically suspended for not less than ten (10) games.
Category I would include plays with a deliberate intent to injure, where Category III offenses are more verbal or threatening in nature, or those where an object was thrown in an official’s direction.
Elliotte Friedman reports that the post-game report from the on-ice officials notes Vermette’s slash as a Category II offense.
“These are things that the league reviews. We have a view on it, they have a view on it. Whatever they decide, we have to live with,” said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. “He touched the official. What are you going to do?”
Vermette can appeal his auto 10-game suspension. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman would hear appeal. Bettman can uphold/increase/decrease 10 G.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 15, 2017
Calgary’s Dennis Wideman was suspended in February 2016 for a Category I offense for a check from behind on linesman Don Henderson, who is still sidelined with injuries as a result of the hit.
Most recently, Arizona’s Anthony DeAngelo was suspended three games for an altercation with linesman David Brisebois.