DALLAS (AP) — Red Wings forward David Perron was suspended for six games by the NHL on Monday for cross-checking Ottawa defenseman Artem Zub in the aftermath of a hit on Dylan Larkin that knocked out the Detroit captain.
Perron was given a match penalty for intent to injure after cross-checking Zub as he stood next to the prone Larkin in the first period of Saturday’s game. Larkin was motionless face-down on the ice after getting cross-checked in the back of the head and neck by Ottawa’s Mathieu Joseph.
In its explanation for the severity of the penalty against Perron, the NHL said he had sufficient time to engage Zub in a different manner.
“First, this is not a hockey play. This is an intentional strike with a stick made with the purpose of exacting retribution on an opponent,” the league said. “This is not a case in which two players are jousting and are mutually aware that sticks are being raised.”
Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said after their 6-3 loss at Dallas on Monday night that he didn’t have much comment on Perron’s suspension, but wanted to stick up for his guys.
Lalonde said someone pointed out to him a two-game suspension Toronto’s Auston Matthews got for a high, forceful cross-check in a game against Buffalo two seasons ago. That was the first career fine or suspension for Matthews.
“Pretty similar for four games’ difference in those two (suspensions),” Lalonde said. “David’s had a clean sheet for 1,100 games. … I know he was pretty disappointed, but you’ve got to trust the process and we’ll see where it goes.”
The 35-year-old Perron, who is in his 17th NHL season, had been fined only one other time in his career. That too was for a retaliatory cross-check, in the playoffs two seasons ago when he was playing for the St. Louis Blues against Colorado and Nazem Kadri.
But the NHL referred to replays Saturday that showed Perron circling back after the whistle and taking several strides toward Zub. The league said Perron raised his stick with both hands, pulled it back and extended it to deliver a forceful blow to the head that knocked Zub to the ice.
Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement and based on his average annual salary, Perron will forfeit $148,437.48 during the suspension. That money will go into the players’ emergency assistance fund.
Larkin was put on injured reserve, along with left wing J.T. Compher and center Klim Kostin, with undisclosed injuries before the game against the Stars.
Asked earlier Monday if Larkin had a concussion, Lalonde said “that’s not my category” and that he would be listed with an upper-body injury. Larkin will be unavailable for at least a week.
“No timeframe on it. … We’ll know more in the next few days,” Lalonde said. “Unfortunate to lose a player of that caliber for an extended period of time.”
Lalonde said he spoke to Larkin for about 20 minutes Sunday night and that the 27-year-old center was in good spirits. Larkin has 11 goals and 14 assists in 24 games this season.
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