NEW YORK - Nashville Predators forward Scott Nichol has been suspended for nine games, without pay, for a blind-side punch to the head of Buffalo Sabres defenseman Jaroslav Spacek during NHL Game #512 at Nashville, Dec. 21.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Nichol forfeits $25,267.41. The money goes to the Player's Emergency Assistance Fund.
The incident occurred at 15:21 of the third period. Nichol was assessed a minor penalty for instigating, a major for fighting, a 10-minute misconduct and a game misconduct as the aggressor (Rule 47.2). The suspension was issued following a hearing conducted via conference call by NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell.
"The punch by Mr. Nichol was deliberate, from behind, and it occurred after the referee's whistle had stopped play," Campbell said. "While Mr. Spacek was injured and left the ice, it is expected he will be available to play in Buffalo's next game."
Nichol will miss games Dec. 23 vs. Los Angeles; Dec. 26 vs. St. Louis; Dec. 29 at Dallas; Dec. 30 vs. Boston; Jan. 1 vs. Colorado; Jan. 5 at Chicago; Jan. 6 vs. St. Louis; Jan. 9 vs. Anaheim and Jan. 12 vs. Columbus.