Updated: Pierre-Marc Bouchard suspended two games. Eligible to return Oct. 13 against his favorite foe, Edmonton
Bouchard from this morning:
“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.”
I'm traveling, but I'm told the gist of what Brendan Shanahan will say in video is that even if you grant Calvert lifted Bouchard's stick into his own face, Bouchard was facing Calvert and took a whack at him.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard, maybe the most mild-mannered, least intimidating players I've covered in the game, could be in trouble.
Bouchard had a telephone hearing with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan at 12:30 p.m. for his four-minute high-stick on Columbus' Matt Calvert last night. He left the ice early for the call with GM Chuck Fletcher, agent Allan Walsh, Shanahan and an NHLPAS rep.
Calvert left the ice with a bloodied mouth and spent time in the Wild's medical room after the game.
Bouchard is on the Wild's charter to Long Island and the Wild expects to have a resolution by the time it lands in Farmingdale.
Wild brass' claim after watching the one angle of the video umpteen times is that it's clear as day that Calvert gives Bouchard a jab on the faceoff. Bouchard's stick is parallel to the ice facing straight out and Calvert lifts Bouchard's stick into his own face. The Wild says on video, you can see Calvert's blade go over his own head as Bouchard's stick nails him in the face.
Here's the video. You be the judge Watch at 1:36. Looks clear to me.
Players must be in control of their own sticks, but the Wild hopes this video evidence and the fact that honestly, this is Pierre-Marc Bouchard, a guy who'd apologize to an axe-murderer, will give Bouchard the benefit of the doubt.
In other words, maybe a $2,500 fine rather than a suspension. My gut says he's in trouble though.
But Bouchard's got 156 penalty minutes in 486 games. He's got a history of concussion problems. I find it hard to believe Bouchard's going to target an opponent's head.
Nevertheless, the league wants to review it. Columbus coach Scott Arniel said after the game, “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.”
If Bouchard is suspended, he counts against the roster. In other words, no callup. Matt Kassian would almost certainly be activated off injured reserve, and I'd think Colton Gillies or Nick Johnson move up in lines with Darroll Powe staying at center. Gillies isn't a center, and Johnson has been a wing his entire pro career as far as I know.
Noon local start time tomorrow as the Islanders play their traditional "Kids Opening Day" matinee for Columbus Day. All the league mascots will be in the arena. Nordy is on the Wild's team plane right now. Fifth year in a row the Isles have played Columbus Day afternoon, finally winning last year over the Rangers -- per NY Islanders TV statistician Eric Hornick (great twitter follow if you're Isles guy or gal, @ehornick).
By the way, if you want to see payback against Trevor Gillies for last year's Cal Clutterbuck board that left him concussed and earned the tough guy a 10-game suspension, Gillies is still on IR with a groiner.