BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Ottawa Senators forward Jarkko Ruutu was suspended by the NHL on Wednesday for two games without pay for biting Buffalo Sabres enforcer Andrew Peters.
The NHL said Ruutu will lose $37,707 in pay and miss Ottawa's game at Boston on Thursday and a home game against the New York Rangers on Saturday.
The ruling came a day after Ruutu bit down on Peters' glove during an altercation in front of the Senators bench in the first period of Buffalo's 4-2 victory. The force of Ruutu's bite ripped Peters' glove off, broke the skin and drew blood on the player's right thumb.
Peters was penalized for sparking the skirmish when he repeatedly rubbed the palm of his glove into Ruutu's face. Ruutu was not penalized.
Ruutu denied he bit Peters despite replays showing he chomped down on the player's glove. The Senators, in Boston, were not immediately available for comment.
In issuing it's suspension, the NHL noted that Ruutu is now considered a repeat offender under terms of the collective bargaining agreement. He has already been disciplined once by the NHL this season, suspended for two games without pay in November for elbowing Montreal's Maxim Lapierre.
Ruutu is not eligible to return until Jan. 13, when the Senators host Carolina.
Peters, on Wednesday, was still shocked by what happened. Taking a punch is one thing but being bitten another altogether.
"It's not really the thumb that's the issue, it's the incident that took place," Peters said following a team meeting but before the suspension was announced. "It's weird to even think that that goes on in hockey. Even in my role, I would never think of doing something like that."
Peters shrugged his shoulders when informed of Ruutu's denial following the game.
"I don't think if I did something that stupid I'd really be admitting to it either," Peters said. "It goes too far for any player. It doesn't matter who you are, it's not part of hockey."
Biting is rare in hockey, but happens.
Current Bruins star Marc Savard was suspended for one game in 2003 when, playing for Atlanta, he bit Darcy Tucker on the glove in a game against Toronto.
Last January, New Jersey's Travis Zajac required stitches on his finger after being bitten by Philadelphia defenseman Derian Hatcher.
Hatcher was not disciplined by the league.
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said biting goes back to when he played in the NHL in the 1980s.
"I witnessed a few. I saw one teammate get bit right on the back," he said.
Ruff said he nor the team was going to overreact to what happened.
"I find it a little humorous to tell you the truth," Ruff said. "It makes it something good to talk about. Games need a little spice and we get a little spice."
Ruutu's bite is but another chapter to a bitter rivalry between two Northeast Division teams.
Two years ago, Ottawa's Chris Neil sparked a brawl when he blind-sided former Sabres co-captain Chris Drury. In 2006, Buffalo beat Ottawa in a five-game second-round playoff series, and the Senators knocked out the Sabres in five games the following postseason.