Winnipeg Jets forward Mathieu Perreault stepped back a bit from the fiery comments he made on Thursday as his frustration boiled over when the league didn’t suspend Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen for an elbow to Perreault’s head Tuesday night.
“My emotions got a little high there,” he said Friday. “I obviously wouldn’t slash anybody in the face.”
The 32-year-old, in his 11th NHL season, is not known as a violent player. Far from it. The 44 PIMs he posted last season was a career high, and it was the first time he even had 40 in a season. The five-foot-10, 188-pound winger is more often regarded as a quality and versatile middle-six player.
“That’s just not who I am,” he continued. “I’ve never done anything like that in my career. So yeah, that was probably a little too much for me to say. I’ve always played a hard game between the whistle within the rules and never done anything to anybody really. I wouldn’t do anything like that. I’d like to take that back for sure.”
Perreault made headlines when he called out the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for not acting against Virtanen, stating that if they weren’t going to stick up for him, a smallish player, he’d have to do it himself.
“I’ve got to take matters into my own hands next time this happens, and I get to swing my stick across his forehead. And I shouldn’t get suspended then,” he said. “The next guy that does that to me is going to get my (expletive) stick. And I better not get suspended for it.”
But while Perreault walked back his most controversial comments, he stood by his criticism of the league.
“I still don’t agree with the decision,” he said. “I feel like any kind of hit to the head should be out of this game. It doesn’t matter what kind of force goes into it or whatnot, so I still don’t agree with that.”