Kings’ Lemieux suspended 5 games for biting Senators’ Tkachuk

Brady Tkachuk and Brendan Lemieux got into a tussle and fell to the ground, and Lemieux appeared to bite Tkachuk.

Los Angeles Kings forward Brendan Lemieux has been suspended five games for biting Ottawa Senators forward Brady Tkachuk, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced Tuesday.

An in-person hearing was held on Zoom before the decision was released.

The incident occurred with 6:09 remaining in the third period Saturday after Tkachuk began shoving Blake Lizotte following a whistle in the Senators’ zone. Lemieux came to the aid of his teammate and tussled with Tkachuk to the ice as officials attempted to pull them apart.

Tkachuk said Lemieux bit him and showed his bloody hand to the officials while heading to the penalty box. Both players were assessed roughing penalties while Lemieux was also ejected from the game with a 10-minute match penalty.

“While circumstantial evidence supports the argument that Lemieux may have bitten Tkachuk multiple times during this fight, we are limiting our review of this incident to the bite that occurs almost immediately after the players fall to the ice,” the narrator on the NHL video, says.

“Due to a lack of evidence, this decision does not include an analysis of how Tkachuk ended up bleeding from his right hand.”

The narrator goes on to say that the NHL heard “Lemieux’s argument that the puncture may have been caused in this moment by Tkachuk punching him on the tooth with force sufficient to cause a puncture wound. The video evidence does not support this version of events.”

The NHL says it took into account that Lemieux previously had been suspended twice and fined once during his 194-game career before making its decision.

“This is not a hockey play,” the narrator says. “This is a player delivering a forceful intentional and potentially dangerous bite to the bare hand of another player with sufficient force to puncture the skin. Such actions will not be tolerated.”

Tkachuk voiced his displeasure after the game.

“It was the most gutless thing somebody could ever do,” Tkachuk told Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun after the game, a 4-2 Kings win. “I don’t even know what he was thinking, he’s just a complete brick head.”

Lemieux has four goals and five points in 13 games this season on the Kings’ fourth line.

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