After suspending Anaheim Ducks center Antoine Vermette 10 games without pay for slashing a linesman this week, NHL will reportedly reduce his suspension to five games, according to SportsNet’s Doug Maclean.
The NHL cited Rule 40, Physical Abuse of Officials and specifically section 40.3 Automatic Suspension – Category II for disciplining Vermette. The rulebook states the following:
Any player who deliberately applies physical force to an official in any matter (excluding actions as set out in Category I), which physical force is applied without intent to injure, or who spits on an official, shall be automatically suspended for not less than ten (10) games.
However, Category I was cited last season when defenseman Dennis Wideman cross-checked a linesman. Category I involves deliberate physical force of a player with “intent to injury or who in any matter attempt to injure an official.”
Wideman received a 20-game suspension, but a neutral arbitrator eventually reduced it to 10. The defenseman still missed 19 games, but his fine was decreased to 10 contests. Therefore, it only makes sense that Vermette’s suspension is less than Wideman’s since the NHL cited the slash one category below the cross-check.
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Vermette signed a two-year, $3.5 million contract last summer with the Ducks. He will lose $48,611.11 of his salary for five games due to the suspension.
The 34-year-old has eight goals and 22 points with a minus-10 rating this season. He’s also won 62.4 percent of his faceoffs. In his career, he’s scored 219 goals and 493 points in 968 games.
Vermette will be eligible to return from his suspension on Friday, March 3 if the suspension is reduced.