Antoine Vermette, who has already received an automatic 10-game suspension for abuse of an official after an altercation with a linesman last week, will begin the appeal process on Thursday, according to Sportsnet’s John Shannon.
Vermette was penalized and ejected from a game against the Minnesota Wild after his hit a linesman with his stick after a faceoff. The centre appeared frustrated that a puck was dropped before he was ready and it was note ruled as an intent to injure. But under the rule he was ejected by, Vermette received an automatic 10-game suspension.
Automatic Suspension – Category II – Any player who deliberately applies physical force to an official in any manner (excluding actions as set out in Category I), which physical force is applied without intent to injure, or who spits on an official, shall be automatically suspended for not less than ten (10) games.
Last season, Calgary’s Dennis Wideman received an abuse of an official penalty for hitting linesman Don Henderson into the boards. That one was ruled as an intent to injure, a Category I, which came with an automatic 20-game suspension. After he served nearly the full sentence, a independent arbitrator reduced Wideman’s suspension to 10 games.
Vermette’s hearing on Thursday will be heard by commissioner Gary Bettman, who can increase, decrease, or uphold the automatic ruling. If he upholds it, Vermette and the NHLPA can turn to an independent arbitrator as they did in Wideman’s case last season.
Late last week, Sportsnet’s Doug MacLean reported that it was likely Vermette’s suspension would be reduced by as many as five games.