Nashville, Tenn. - In response to the nine-game suspension handed down by the National Hockey League as a result of actions in last night's Nashville-Buffalo game, Nashville Predators center Scott Nichol issued the following statement:
"First, I offer my apologies to Jaroslav Spacek and am thankful that he was not hurt. I have great respect for the game and my fellow players, and in the heat of the moment last night, I lost my cool and reacted emotionally to being fouled. I am not proud of my actions, but I take full responsibility and accept the consequences.
"I also apologize to my teammates, coaches, the organization and Predators fans, and look forward to returning to action and helping my team."
Comments from Predators general manager David Poile
On his reaction to the suspension:
"All players have to be responsible for their actions. With Scott, he was fouled by [Buffalo's Jaroslav] Spacek and he's reacting to a situation where it was a dangerous play that he got injured on. Unfortunately his reaction went a little bit too far."
On the length of the suspension:
"We're accepting the suspension, we just have to move forward. The league took in all the information plus they have all the history of the suspensions that have preceded this. We accept their decision."
On Friday's hearing via conference call:
"The league had a conference call this morning. Those who participated were [NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations] Colin Campbell and other NHL representatives, a representative from the NHLPA (National Hockey League Players Association), Scott Nichol, his agent, and myself. You review the incident and everybody gets to make a statement as to what happened in the situation, what their thoughts were. So everybody gets to be heard. Then Colin Campbell and the NHL make the decision. He called back after he made his decision."
On the league's decision to rescind the 'instigator within the final five minutes of regulation' infraction against Nichol:
"That was deemed not to be appropriate in this situation. That was put in [the rule book] specifically for players that, because of the score or the situation or prior things that happen in the game, start a fight. This was obviously a non-premeditated situation. It was just a reaction to the foul so they rescinded it."
On his conversation with Nichol about the incident:
"We just went over it. I think everybody knew that it was not the right thing to do. Also, the Spacek play was a penalty and it was a dangerous play where Nichol got spun around and could have had a serious injury. He reacted to it. Unfortunately, Spacek wasn't looking at him at the time. If he had been, we probably would have had normal shoving or at worst a normal one-on-one altercation, which there would have been no suspension for. Unfortunately he wasn't and Scott's actions were inappropriate. Thus the suspension."
On whether there will be any internal punishment for Nichol by the team:
On whether the pattern of Nichol's suspensions is a concern:
"He's an aggressive player and he plays a very emotional game. I don't want him to change his game but he has to take responsibility for his actions and he's got to play within the boundaries and the rules of the game. Unfortunately in this incident it was something, a split second, that I'm sure that he wishes he could have back."