San Jose’s Micheal Haley was given a match penalty for a sucker punch in Satruday’s game against the Predators. He’s now suspended until further notice.
Preds defenseman Calle Jarnkrok hit Haley from behind, earning a two-minute minor for boarding. Haley responded by chasing down the Nashville blueliner and delivered an ungloved punch.
Haley was ejected, given a match penalty for deliberate intent to injure by referees Tim Peel and Kevin Pollock.
A match penalty involves the suspension of a player for the balance of the game and the offender shall be ordered to the dressing room immediately. A match penalty shall be imposed on any player who deliberately attempts to injure or who deliberately injures an opponent in any manner.
In addition to the match penalty, the player shall be automatically suspended from further competition until the Commissioner has ruled on the issue.
Jarnkrok was uninjured on the play.
“I feel pretty good,” Jarnkrok said. “Obviously, I saw him coming. There were a couple other guys coming, too. I didn’t really know what to do. He got in a good punch on me.”
Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer attempted to justify the punch, citing the dangerous hit delivered by Jarnkrok moments earlier.
“When you run someone from behind in a game like that, you probably deserve to get a punch in the mouth,” said DeBoer.
On the opposite bench, Predators coach Peter Laviolette called it “an ugly play.”
“This isn’t the wild, wild west,” said DeBoer. “I mean, Calle hit him. We took a penalty. If we start doing that, we’re in trouble, so hopefully it gets looked at.”
It will. Commissioner Gary Bettman will review the play and determine any further disciplinary action.
Haley has two goals and nine assist in 54 games this season, along with 110 penalty minutes – fifth-most in the NHL.