by PuckStopsHere on 10/12/08 at 08:21 AM ET
Mike Peca of the Columbus Blue Jackets has been suspended indefinitely for his actions in Friday night’s game where the Blue Jackets played in Dallas against the Stars. The Blue Jackets won the game 5-4 in overtime. In the second period, Mike Peca appears to have been tripped by Dallas forward Brenden Morrow immediately before Dallas scored to tie the game at 1-1. This occurred during a Dallas two man advantage. Peca was upset with the non-call of the penalty and was arguing it with referee Greg Kimmerly. Peca grabbed Kimmerly’s arm as the referee skated away to try to argue his case. Peca was given a 10 minute misconduct and a game misconduct for abuse of an official. It is likely that this event will garner a 10 game suspension for Mike Peca (abuse of officials has a minimum 10 game suspension according to Rule 41, Category 2). If that occurs, it will place Peca on the list of the longest NHL suspensions ever. Is this one of the worst events in NHL history?
What is refreshing to me about this situation (in a bit of an odd way) is the lack of a media push for a huge suspension. In some of the more recent indefinite suspensions, Todd Bertuzzi and Marty McSorely, there was a huge amount of media attention condemning the players involved (and to a lesser degree hockey in general). The reasons for that include the fact that those events were attempts to injure people and there is no way to interpret grabbing someone’s arm as intent to injure. Also, the overall lack of footage of the incident helps to downplay the media attention. Footage does exist. It is a handheld video camera from a fan at the game. Here it is:
The incident where Peca is tripped occurs around the 1:07 mark of the footage. Peca does appear to grab Kimmerly’s arm not too long after that.
I am in no way condoning violence against officials (and this is not violence against an official), but I think the suspension will be disproportionate to the crime. Peca may deserve a suspension for grabbing an official, but this is not one of the worst incidents in NHL history and it should not get one of the longest suspensions in NHL history.
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