Defenseman Kevin Hatcher normally plays 25 to 30 minutes a game for the Washington Capitals, but he won't play one second on Tuesday against the Calgary Flames. He was automatically suspended for incurring his second stick-related game-misconduct penalty of the season in yesterday's 2-2 tie with Pittsburgh at Capital Centre.
With 7:12 gone in the first period, referee Bill McCreary called Hatcher for high-sticking Penguins left wing Bob Errey. Hatcher got a five-minute penalty as well as the game misconduct. Hatcher and Quebec's Mats Sundin were both given five-minute spearing and game-misconduct penalties in Friday night's contest.
The short, scrappy Errey came off the bench on a line change, and skated at Hatcher as the big defenseman turned up ice in his end. The replay shows that Errey jumped into and elbowed Hatcher, though McCreary did not call a penalty. As Hatcher was falling against the boards, his stick swung back and clipped Errey in the face. Errey bled profusely, though he said afterward that he didn't need stitches.
"I looked up, saw I was under pressure, got rid of the puck and tried to get against the boards so I wouldn't fall in a funny position," Hatcher said. "He looked like he jumped up and caught me high with an elbow. He's not that tall. My stick came around and unintentionally caught him in the face. At that point, it was up to the ref to give me four minutes or five."
Rule 58(c) says that when a high-sticking penalty causes an injury, the referee can decide the cause was accidental or careless, with the latter drawing a five-minute penalty and game misconduct.
"I talked to the supervisor and we will not appeal it," General Manager David Poile said.
If Hatcher incurs another stick-related game misconduct, he will be suspended for two games.