Ver­mette banned 10 games for slash­ing lines­man

The Washington Post - - SPORTS -

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.

ROSS D. FRANKLIN/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ana­heim’s An­toine Ver­mette slashed lines­man Shan­dor Alphonso af­ter los­ing a face­off Tues­day in the Ducks’ 1-0 win over Min­nesota.

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