By: Chad Lynch
The Phoenix Coyotes received some good news from the NHL offices in New York on Wednesday when NHL Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell ruled that while Coyotes captain Shane Doan did receive a instigator penalty in the final five minutes of Tuesday's game against Anaheim, the penalty did not warrant the automatic one-game suspension. The league also ruled that Phoenix Head Coach Wayne Gretzky, had not sent Doan out with the intent to fight therefore Gretzky was not subject to the mandatory $10,000.00 fine.
When the rule was put into place, Campbell's intent was to keep teams from sending out enforcers at the end of a game that was all but over to send a message through violence. While the team cannot appeal the automatic one-game suspension, Campbell does have the ability to review each case and determine on his own if a suspension is in order. In Doan's case, it was clear that the rule did not apply.
"Obviously, when you're talking about Doan, he played the most minutes in the game, you're not sending him out to send a message," said Campbell in a statement.
Gretzky also noted that Doan's actions were the result of a heat-of-the-moment battle, not a premeditated plan.
"Shane's a tough kid who battles every night," said Gretzky. "There was some frustration and he was sticking up for a teammate and he was just playing hard. I don't have any problem with that."
Doan was punished for the incident with $1500.00 fine.
"Obviously you never want to be fined, but we'll move on and get ready for the next game," said Doan.
Coyotes defenseman Denis Gauthier was also given a $1500.00 fine for his hit on Anaheim's Joffrey Lupul on Tuesday night. Gautheir's hit Lupul with his shoulder and did not receive a penalty on the play.
Gretzky did talk to both Doan and Gauthier regarding the fines, and added that he understood the circumstances surrounding the events.
"Anytime the League steps in and fines the players, they are dong it to try and protect the players and the game," said Gretzky. "I spoke to Gauthier and Doan about it and they both understood and I don't believe they had any malicious intent out there."
After suffering a mild concussion during Tuesday's game, Petr Nedved was re-examined on Wednesday and is currently listed as day-to-day.
"I am feeling pretty good today," said Nedved. "I have some minor headaches but that is it."
Nedved realizes that thanks to better knowledge f hit head injuries these days, he is getting much better care than most players received in years past.
"The doctors just know so much more about them today than they did 10-15 years ago," said Nedved. "I know some guys in the past said that if they had taken a hit to the head, they would get a couple Advil and play the next game. Today, they know a lot more about the dangers and the players are getting the best treatment available."
MORRIS SUFFERS BRUISED RIBS
Phoenix defenseman Derek Morris did not skate at the Coyotes practice on Wednesday after suffering bruised ribs in Tuesday's contest. Morris is currently listed as day-to-day, but the Coyotes did recall defenseman Matt Jones from their top AHL affiliate in San Antonio in the event that Morris can't play Friday in Dallas.
"Derek is a tough kid and doesn't like to miss any games, but it was clear that he was hurting last night and I don't want to take any chances with him making the injury worse," said Gretzky. "There is a good chance hat we will keep him out of Friday and Saturday's game and let him try and come back for next Wednesday's contest. That way he gets a full eight days to rest."
LUNDMARK LIKELY TO PLAY FRIDAY
With forward Petr Nedved likely out for a week, the Coyotes will fill his spot in the line up with forward Jamie Lundmark.
"He'll (Lundmark) play for sure on Friday," said Gretzky.
NASH CLEARED TO PLAY
Coyote forward Tyson Nash continued to practice with the team and may be ready to return to the line up Friday in Dallas.
"All signs point to him being ready to play Friday," said Gretzky. "If he is ready, we'll take him off the injured reserve on Friday and get him in the line up.