Ducks winger Corey Perry was ejected for his hit on Wild rookie Jason Zucker during NHL action in St. Paul, Minn., on Tuesday, March 12, 2013. (Alex Gallardo/Reuters/Files)
Anaheim Ducks forward Corey Perry was suspended four games by the NHL Wednesday, a day after blindsiding Minnesota Wild rookie Jason Zucker.
Rob Blake of the NHL’s department of player safety described it as a late hit that made significant contact with Zucker’s head.
“In spite of the fact that all players need to be aware of their surroundings, it is perfectly reasonable that Zucker should no longer expect to be hit this long after possession,” Blake said. “Furthermore, although all plays develop quickly, Perry has enough time to avoid this violent check or, at the very least, minimize it significantly.”
Zucker was motionless on the ice for several minutes after the hit before he was helped to the dressing room. Perry was given a major penalty for interference and a game misconduct.
“I was committed to the hit,” Perry said, describing the play. “I didn’t change my path or direction. I was committed and I tried to let up. It’s hard because it happened so fast. It’s unfortunate. I don’t go out there trying to hurt guys. That's not me as a person.”
Perry’s history was a factor in the NHL’s decision. He was suspended in 2009 for hitting Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux with a head shot.
Perry is second on the Ducks in scoring with nine goals and 15 assists in 25 games this season.
Boston Bruins forward Chris Kelly will be sidelined indefinitely with a broken left tibia, the team announced Wednesday.
Kelly suffered the injury during Monday’s game after a leg-on-leg hit with Chris Neil of the Ottawa Senators.
The team gave no timetable for Kelly’s return, but in 2006-07 Jeff Carter, then of the Philadelphia Flyers, missed six weeks with a broken tibia and in 2008-09 Bruins defenceman Andrew Ference missed about 10 weeks with the same injury.
Kelly, 32, has two goals and four assists in 23 games this season in Boston.
‘PRODUCTIVE’ MEETINGS IN SOCHI
While there’s still no deal in place for NHL players to play in the Winter Games, there were positive vibes coming from NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly as the league wrapped up meetings with the IIHF and Olympic organizers in Sochi, Russia.
“We had two productive days of meetings in Sochi,” Daly told TSN. “Saw and visited all the hockey venues, the Olympic Village and other key Olympics-related infrastructure. We met with the Sochi Organizing Committee, the IIHF and a number of IOC representatives. There is more work to be done, but it was an important trip for us to make.”
IIHF president Rene Fasel was optimistic a deal could be reached with the NHL.
“This was a very good couple days of site visits of the Olympic venues and infrastructure, followed by some good discussions with the NHL representatives,” Fasel said.
NHL players have participated in the Olympics since Nagano in 1998. The Games in Sochi run Feb. 7-23 next year.
The New Jersey Devils signed the OHL’s leading goal-scorer, Reid Boucher, to an entry-level deal. Boucher has 62 goals with the Sarnia Sting this season. The Devils drafted him 99th overall in 2011 ... St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports it’s a rib injury ... Valtteri Filppula returned to the Detroit Red Wings lineup Wednesday after missing seven games with a sprained left shoulder suffered Feb. 24 ... The Columbus Blue Jackets added defenceman Cody Goloubef to the roster on an emergency recall from the AHL’s Springfield Falcons ... The Minnesota Wild signed 36-year-old defenceman Brett Clark to a one-year contract ... The Nashville Predators called up forward Chris Mueller from the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals.