NHL suspends Sharks’ Ryane Clowe two games for leaving bench to start fight

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San Jose Sharks forward Ryane Clowe had the opportunity to defend himself for leaving the bench to go after Andrew Shaw of the Chicago Blackhawks in the waning moments of Friday's game. He declined, deciding to speak with the Department of Player Safety via the phone on Monday afternoon.

The issue that needed to be determined was whether or not he left the bench illegally or not to engage Shaw. A potential 10-game suspension hung in the balance. After pleading his case to Brendan Shanahan and company, it was determined that Clowe would be sitting for two games.

Here's Shanahan explaining why:

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From the NHL:

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Clowe will forfeit $39,189.18. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

Clowe was assessed a minor penalty for roughing and a game misconduct for leaving the bench on an illegal line change to start an altercation with 8.4 seconds left in regulation – an infraction that calls for an automatic 10-game suspension.

Upon further review of video of the incident and following a hearing conducted today to examine the incident, it was determined that Clowe, in fact, entered the ice on a legal line change. However, upon doing so, he skated directly to Shaw, who was not engaged physically with any other player. Clowe then grabbed Shaw and wrestled him to the ice.

Rule 70.2 states, in part: "A player who has entered play while play is in progress from his own players' bench…who starts an altercation may be subject to discipline in accordance with Rule 28 -- Supplementary Discipline."

The fact that Joe Pavelski was heading off on a line change helped shave games off a potential long-term suspension for Clowe, given that the league deemed it was a legal substitution. Clowe has already sat out one game after being suspended pending a hearing for Saturday's loss to the Dallas Stars and will sit out Tuesday's game against Colorado before being eligible to return.

Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

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