Vermette banned 10 games for slashing linesman
Anaheim Ducks forward Antoine Vermette was suspended for 10 games without pay Thursday for slashing a linesman in apparent anger after a faceoff.
Vermette slapped his stick against the back of linesman Shandor Alphonso’s legs after losing a faceoff to Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu during the third period of the Ducks’ 1-0 win Tuesday.
Two days later, the NHL issued the automatic 10-game suspension under league rules for applying physical force to an official without intent to injure. Vermette, who will lose $97,222.22 in salary, had never been fined or suspended during his 13 NHL seasons.
Vermette is expected to appeal the suspension to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. He could take a further appeal to an independent arbitrator.
The normally mild-mannered Vermette appeared to act in frustration after Alphonso dropped the puck before the forward had put his stick in place on the ice. Vermette has been the NHL’s most proficient faceoff man this season, winning 62.4 percent of his 985 draws.
After the game, Anaheim Coach Randy Carlyle said he thought Vermette hadn’t acted maliciously but had been trying to get Alphonso’s attention after what he viewed as an unfair faceoff.
But Carlyle also acknowledged that NHL rules strictly prohibit contact with officials. Alphonso is a former Ontario Hockey League player in his first full season as an NHL linesman.
If Vermette immediately serves the entire 10-game suspension, he would be out until Anaheim’s visit from the NHL-leading Washington Capitals on March 12.
Crosby collects 1,000th point
Sidney Crosby ended his march to 1,000 career points in typically unselfish fashion. The Pittsburgh Penguins star wasted little time before starting his quest for the next thousand.
The Pittsburgh captain fed Chris Kunitz for a first-period goal against Winnipeg on Thursday to become the 86th player in NHL history to reach the 1,000-point plateau, added an assist on Phil Kessel’s game-tying goal in the third and then put the winner past Connor Hellebuyck with 21 seconds left in overtime as the Penguins escaped with a 4-3 victory at home.
Crosby finished with three points to push his total 1,002.
ISLANDERS 4, RANGERS 2: Andrew Ladd scored twice to lead the host New York Islanders past their crosstown rivals.
Anders Lee and Nikolay Kulemin also scored, and Thomas Greiss stopped 25 shots to help the Islanders improve to 8-0-2 in their past 10 at home.
SENATORS 3, DEVILS 0: Mike Condon made 21 saves in recording his fifth shutout of the season, and Dion Phaneuf scored on a power play to vault Ottawa to victory in Newark. Erik Karlsson scored on a point shot that crawled into the net and Kyle Turris shot into an empty net in the final four minutes to give the Senators their third win in four games. SABRES 2, AVALANCHE 0: Sam Reinhart and Evander Kane scored and Robin Lehner made 23 saves to propel host Buffalo.
The Sabres moved within three points of Toronto for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. They have won consecutive games for the first time since a three-game winning streak from Jan. 20 to 24. BLUES 4, CANUCKS 3: Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Steen scored third-period power-play goals to lift streaking St. Louis at home.
St. Louis improved to 7-1 since Mike Yeo took over as coach, which is the best start for a coach in Blues history.
WILD 3, STARS 1: In St. Paul, Minn., Darcy Kuemper stopped 34 shots and Erik Haula had a goal and an assist to carry the Wild to victory.
Minnesota hasn’t lost consecutive games in over two months and extended its point streak against the Stars to seven games.
OILERS 6, FLYERS 3: Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists to regain the NHL scoring lead from Crosby and lead Edmonton at home.
Matt Hendricks, Leon Draisaitl, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Oscar Klefbom also scored for the Oilers, who have won two straight and three of four.
Anaheim’s Antoine Vermette slashed linesman Shandor Alphonso after losing a faceoff Tuesday in the Ducks’ 1-0 win over Minnesota.