The Nashville Predators are without one of their best players in Ryan Johansen due to injury. Will the Anaheim Ducks be without one of their best players due to suspension?
That’s the question some are asking in the down time between Nashville’s Game 5 win in Southern California and Monday night’s Game 6 in Music City.
Four-time All-Star Corey Perry, the Ducks’ fourth leading scorer in the post-season with 11 points, tried to breakaway from an official in an effort to engage in a fight with Nashville’s Vern Fiddler with less than 10 seconds left on the clock on Saturday. Pay close attention to the final part of Rule 40.4 in the 2016-17 NHL Rule Book:
“…or who deliberately applies physical force to an official solely for the purpose of getting free of such an official during or immediately following an altercation shall be suspended for not less than three (3) games.”
In the video below, Perry is clearly seen trying to break free of referee Dan O’Roarke on multiple occasions. First in the lower left hand corner of the screen at the 15 second and 19 second marks and then again at the 50 second mark.
The first instances of trying to break away can easily be swept under the rug. It happens many times throughout a season in the National Hockey League and rarely anyone is truly suspended for it — although there was an instance earlier this season for something a lot tamer. It’s the second event that’s of note. It’s more than 30 seconds after the initial attempt, O’Roarke clearly gives Perry a warning during the first altercation and the League has traditionally frowned upon players being separated from a scrap only to come back moments later and re-engage. All of that happened during this play and it all happened in garbage time in a game where Anaheim was going to lose 3-1.
In other words, it was all completely unnecessary.
One piece of evidence that may suggest Perry will escape supplementary discipline is the official scoresheet. Perry was given a 10-minute game misconduct but the infraction was not noted as “Abuse of Officials.” So it’ll all come down to whether or not O’Roarke and his fellow zebras working the game Saturday night filed a verbal and/or written report, as is necessary for suspension, per Rule 40.5.
Whether he’s in the lineup or not, the Preds and Ducks will play Game 6 at Bridgestone Arena on Monday night and this rivalry just added yet another chapter.
PHOTO CREDIT: screen cap of SportsNet broadcast