The NHL Department of Player Safety suspended Anaheim Ducks winger Nick Ritchie for their regular-season finale against the Los Angeles Kings for his sucker-punch against Michal Rozsival of the Chicago Blackhawks.
After Ritchie’s match penalty in the game, that was expected. What wasn’t expected: That the NHL would give him a two-game suspension for the punch.
Yes, that includes a playoff game, as the Ducks will be without Ritchie for Game 1 against an undetermined opponent.
Here’s their explanation.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Ritchie will forfeit $4,967.59.
Ritchie has 14 goals and 14 assists in 77 games, playing 12:59 per game. He’s recently seen time with Corey Perry’s line, as it was Rozsival’s cross-check on Perry that sparked the incident.
So losing him for a playoff game isn’t soul-crushing for Anaheim but … it’s still losing him for a playoff game.
I’ve been able to follow the Department of Player Safety’s logic and consistency on a number of on-ice incidents, but “sucker punches” have never been one of them. Some earn supplemental discipline, some don’t. Some are seemingly excused because a player was following The Code or whatever, like Micheal Haley getting one game. Some seem to defy logic, like Dalton Prout’s suspension last season.
This one on Ritchie is surprising, given that it takes him out for a playoff game. Was it the injury? Was it the bad optics of such a blatant cheap shot? Was it because, unlike Haley, Ritchie was playing enforcer rather than getting his comeuppance? Was it the notion that one, meaningless game wouldn’t have had much impact?
What did you think of the suspension?
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