The Anaheim #Ducks can expect to be without center #Antoine Vermette for the forseeable future after his actions on Tuesday evening. Vermette, for reasons only known to him, slashed an official during the third period of a game against the Minnesota Wild.
Ducks' Vermette tossed
#Vermette was ejected from the contest after the incident and won’t be back for a while. According to the league’s rules, his action comes with at least a 10-game suspension. He has the right to appeal, and his time away can be decreased or increased.
The Los Angeles Times’ Curtis Zupke reported on the incident, and stated that it was out of character for Vermette, who has never been suspended before and doesn’t have a bad temper or reputation.
Vermette, who leads the #NHL in winning percentage of face-offs for players who have had at least 600 face-offs this season, apparently was upset when the official dropped the puck early in a face-off.
Ducks center not the only hockey player to act out against officials
Incidents of #Hockey players intentionally making contact with officials have happened a couple of times in the last few seasons. Last season, Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman was hit with a 20-game suspension after he cross-checked an official during a game. After appeal, the suspension was trimmed in half. Earlier this season, Arizona Coyotes defenseman Anthony DeAngelo was banned for three games for pushing away a linesman who was trying to hold him back after a scuffle.
Love the defenses of Vermette's slash on linesmen Shandor Alphonso. "Just a tap", "not a dirty player". He slashed an official! Stop!— Don La Greca (@DonLagreca) February 15, 2017
The New York Daily News' Peter Botte says "There are plenty of intolerable infractions in sports, but taking out frustrations on the officials always is reprehensible and beyond unacceptable." He's 100% right and the suspension here should be a serious one.
It's time the NHL lays down the law to try and make the punishment so severe that players will think again before making some sort of unnecessary contact with an official. No matter how good of a guy Vermette might normally be, the league needs to end this nonsense and has a chance to do so right now.
The game has turned the page from the days of goons and the over-the-top fighting. The NHL needs to continue the momentum of watching great players play and not get publicity over ugly on-ice incidents of players taking out aggression on game officials. A larger suspension and a heftier fine for this kind of conduct will keep the game on a better path.