- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 15, 2017

It wasn’t a good decision by Anaheim Ducks forward Antoine Vermette.

Following a lost face off, the 34-year-old center paused during play and slashed rookie linesman Shandor Alphonso in the back of the leg. Take a look.

The play was immediately whistled as a penalty, and Vermette received a 10-minute game misconduct and was ejected from the game.

The frustration by Vermette boiled over likely off of the result of a rough night at the face off circle. Vermette is leading the league this season in win percentage at the dot, as he’s successful 62.4 percent he lines up. But against the Minnesota Wild, Vermette struggled, only winning six of his 17 draws, losing many against the Wild’s Mikko Koivu, the opposing center during the incident.

Following the game, the referee has the right to file an abuse of official penalty which carries an automatic suspension depending on the category: Category III, generally given to in verbal abuse or demeaning complaints (three game suspension), Category II, physical contact without intent to injure (10 game suspension) or Category I, a player deliberately strikes an official and causes injury (20 game suspension).

According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Vermette was given a Category II level of abuse of official.

Vermette has the right to appeal the suspension within 72 hours of the decision, which was issued to Vermette, the Ducks and NHL Players Association earlier this morning. Should Vermette request an appeal, an in-person hearing will be conducted with Commissioner Gary Bettman.

This is the second such abuse of official penalty in the NHL in the last month and a half. On Jan. 1, Arizona Coyotes defenseman Anthony DeAngelo was given a Category I abuse of official three-game suspension after verbally arguing with linesman David Brisebois, shaking him off and appearing to repeatedly say “get the [expletive] off me.”

Last year, Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman received a 20-game suspension for a Category III abuse of official after cross checking linesman Don Henderson. As a result of the hit, Henderson had to undergo neck surgery. Initially following an appeal, Wideman was still given the 20-game suspension, forfeiting $564,516.18 in salary. However, the NHLPA would file an appeal to a neutral arbitrator, and Wideman’s suspension was reduced to 10 games, allowing him to reclaim half of his lost salary.

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