The National Hockey League has suspended Minnesota Wild winger Pierre-Marc Bouchard
for two games due to a stick infraction during last night's 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Bouchard will miss Monday afternoon's game against the New York Islanders, and Tuesday night's contest in Ottawa.
Bouchard is with the team in Long Island right now and was not notified of the suspension until after the team landed.
The incident occurred near the end of the second period during a neutral zone faceoff. Bouchard and Matt Calvert were lined up across from each other and as soon as play started, they came together before Bouchard's stick clipped him in the face and drew blood. Bouchard was assessed a four-minute highsticking penatly.
Replays appeared to show Calvert lifting Bouchard's stick as he skated across Bouchard's body, but that didn't seem to matter, nor did Bouchard's impeccable record of clean play in his career.
Apparently, that's not the same replay that Columbus Head Coach Scott Arniel saw, as he said, “It’s definitely an attempt to injure. Our whole bench saw it. Their whole bench saw it. We want to talk about getting hits from behind and shots to the head, but we allow a guy to stay in the game after taking a baseball swing at a guy’s face? That’s a joke.”
Bouchard told Mike Russo of the Star Tribune before the suspension was doled out, “It was just a bad accident,” said Bouchard. “It was just a battle there on the faceoff. He comes after me before the puck drops, and we go at it. I was going to whack him on the hands, but he lifted my stick and it hits him in the mouth.
“I’m not that kind of player. I was not aiming for his mouth.”
Bouchard will return to the lineup for Thursday's home game against the Edmonton Oilers.