COLUMBUS, OHIO – Columbus Blue Jackets center Michael Peca received a five-game suspension from the National Hockey League for having violated Rule 41, Physical Abuse of Officials, in NHL Game 15 against the Dallas Stars on October 10. The suspension was finalized after a hearing on appeal and a review of the incident by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. Peca has already served two games of the suspension and will be eligible to return on Friday, October 24, when the Blue Jackets host the New York Rangers.
Application of Rule 41 calls for automatic suspension of three, 10 or 20 games, based on three categories of offenses. Peca's offense initially was assessed as a Category II, which requires an automatic 10-game suspension. He appealed and a hearing was held Thursday before Commissioner Bettman. Upon hearing the testimony and reviewing the evidence, including a video of the incident (which was not previously available or reviewed by the four officials who worked the game), the parties present at the hearing, including the four on-ice officials involved in the game, determined that the application of Category III, which requires a minimum three-game ban, was more appropriately applied because Peca's actions were more properly categorized as "physically demeaning" conduct. However, due to the serious nature of the conduct involved and pursuant to his authority under Rule 41, Commissioner Bettman increased the minimum three-game suspension to five games.
The Blue Jackets play their home opener tonight at Nationwide Arena, hosting the Nashville Predators. Game time is set for 7 p.m. Live coverage on FOX Sports Ohio will begin with the Blue Jackets Live pre-game show starting at 6:30 p.m. The game will also broadcast live on the Blue Jackets Radio Network and flagship stations WBNS-AM, Sports Radio 1460 The Fan and WWCD-FM, CD101.
Tickets for 2008-09 regular season home games, including Friday’s home opener against Nashville, are on sale now at the Nationwide Arena Ticket Office, FOX Sports Ohio Blue Line at The Mall at Tuttle Crossing, The Chiller Ice Rinks and all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers. Fans can purchase tickets by phone at (614) 431-3600 or online at www.BlueJackets.com and www.ticketmaster.com. For information on season tickets, mini-plans or group tickets, call (614) 246-PUCK or 800-NHL-COLS.