Ducks right wing Corey Perry on Wednesday was suspended four games without pay by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety as punishment for a hit that injured Minnesota forward Jason Zucker Tuesday night in St. Paul, Minn.
Perry will lose $115,135.12, which will go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund. He previously was suspended by the NHL four years ago, so he is not considered a repeat offender within the prescribed 18-month period. Had he been judged a repeat offender, the suspension would have been longer.
Zucker, clearly dazed after being driven into the boards by Perry, had to be helped off the ice and did not return. However, he was able to skate on Wednesday.
Rob Blake of the Department of Player Safety, narrating the league’s explanatory video (see above), called the hit by Perry “a late, illegal check.” He also said Perry delivered the hit “nearly a full second” after Zucker had released the puck and that Perry made “significant contact” with Zucker’s head. Perry got a five-minute major for interference and a game misconduct. Despite losing Perry, the Ducks rallied for a 2-1 victory over the Wild.
Blake said that although players must be aware of their surroundings and possible hits, “It is perfectly reasonable that Zucker should no longer expect to be hit this long after possession.” Blake also said he accepted Perry’s assertion that there was no malice behind the hit but said Perry could have held up. “He does recklessly make significant contact to the head of a player who was ineligible to be checked,” Blake said.
Perry will be eligible to return on March 22 against Detroit. — Helene Elliott