Vermette facing suspension for ‘abuse of officials’ (Video)

Antoine Vermette did something really stupid, and it can’t even be attributed to a ‘heat of the moment’ excuse. Now he’s looking at upwards of a 10 game suspension for ‘physical abuse of an official.’

In the just about midway third period with the Anaheim Ducks up 1-0 on the Minnesota Wild, Vermette and Mikko Koivu lineup to take a faceoff.

The linesman drops the puck. Vermette doesn’t move, but Koivu does and sweeps the puck away. As play continues, Vermette stand there barking at the officials. The linesman is looking up ice when Vermette gives him a swat to the back of the legs.

For his (idiotic) effort, Vermette was tossed from the game and assessed a game misconduct for ‘abuse of officials.’

According to the NHL Rulebook, he violated Rule 40 – “Physical Abuse of Officials”

We list the entire rule because the determination of how long Vermette will be suspended – and he will be suspended – comes from which category of offense Vermette falls into.

Darren Dreger reported after the game, “An off ice supervisor was at the game and is assisting in determining the officials assessment. Looks like sure suspension.”

Then Bob McKenzie followed up with, “NHL doesn’t generally confirm which Category officials opted to assess until next day, when NHLPA is informed of specific infraction.”

Just based solely on the way the rule is written, Vermette appears to be facing a 10 game suspension for a Category II offense due to the lack of intent to injure (at least it looks that way.)

As a comparison, the last Category I suspension was Dennis Wideman for striking Don Henderson. The most recent Category III suspension was Anthony DeAngelo from the Arizona Coyotes who forcefully freed himself from the grip of an official. Two very different ends of the spectrum.

Next step is to wait for the NHL officials to make their call.

Should an automatic suspension be handed down, Vermette and the NHLPA can appeal directly to the Commissioner. (Remember – this isn’t a Department of Player Safety issue.)

After the game, Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said to Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register:

The coach seems resigned to the fact he’ll be losing one of his top situational faceoff men for the next little while.