Bouchard suspended two games

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 10, 2011 - 1:01 AM

Pierre-Marc Bouchard's high stick to Columbus' Matt Calvert drew a swift penalty from new NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan.

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Pierre-Marc Bouchard in the Wild opener Saturday night.

Photo: Tom Wallace, Star Tribune

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UNIONDALE, N.Y. - Pierre-Marc Bouchard took some ribbing from teammates after Sunday's practice.

"Be careful of Butch," Mikko Koivu said sarcastically, insinuating that the mild-mannered Bouchard was a dirty player.

Bouchard didn't find humor in the jokes. He had just stepped out of a telephone hearing with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher, agent Allan Walsh and a union rep.

The call stemmed from Saturday's double-minor high-stick to the mouth of Columbus' Matt Calvert, an infraction that cost Bouchard a two-game suspension later Sunday and $44,108 in salary.

Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel called Bouchard's stick foul an "attempt to injure" and "baseball swing." The Wild contended Calvert instigated the altercation and lifted Bouchard's stick into his own mouth. Calvert lost three teeth.

The NHL essentially ruled that even if you grant Calvert lifted Bouchard's stick, Bouchard was facing Calvert and tried to whack him.

"It was just a bad accident," Bouchard said before learning his fate. "It was 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."

Walsh said in an e-mail: "What message is Brendan Shanahan sending with this unwarranted suspension? All perennial Lady Byng candidates should now be on notice that when an opponent high sticks himself in the mouth, he can expect a minimum suspension of 2 regular season NHL games. This result is a shameful farce for the League."

Shanahan, through a spokesman, declined to comment.

Player moves

With Bouchard suspended, Matt Kassian will come off injured reserve from a broken finger.

Frankly, Kassian might have played against the rough-and-tumble Islanders anyway. With Brad Staubitz also suspended, the Wild lacks a tough guy. Kassian had 411 penalty minutes and 55 fights in the past three years with Houston.

"A lot of times you can look at games and know there's a little bit higher chance something's going to happen," said Kassian, who has two fights in four NHL games. "Definitely the Islanders are a team that plays a very physical, gritty style of game, so any time you have an opponent like that, the chance is a little higher."

In last season's game at Nassau Coliseum, Cal Clutterbuck suffered a concussion when he got hit from behind by Trevor Gillies. Gillies, suspended 10 games for the infraction, is expected to miss Monday's game because of a groin injury.

Line dancing

Rookie Brett Bulmer might move up to the second line, with Colton Gillies or Nick Johnson moving to the third. Darroll Powe will remain fourth-line center.

"I really liked what Powe did [Saturday against Columbus]," coach Mike Yeo said. "Even though he played fourth-line center, he was one of our leaders in ice time in the first period. You can throw him up on wing with another line. Fourth-line center, it's not a position that just doesn't mean anything. That fourth line, we want to put it out and have it be effective."

Early alarm

Monday's game is at noon Twin Cities time because it's the Islanders' annual Columbus Day matinée. On Long Island, schools are closed.

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