In the middle of a tight 1-0 game in Minnesota, Anaheim Ducks forward Antoine Vermette took himself out of the game after hitting an official with his stick.
Well, out of the next ten games.
The play came right after a face-off in the neutral zone, as Vermette took a chop at the back of the legs of the referee who dropped the puck.
That slap earned him a game misconduct penalty for abuse of an official, a NHL rule that doesn’t often get enacted. One of the last times it came into play? When Dennis Wideman blindsided an official last season in Calgary.
The NHL’s rules on abuse of officials is long, but the section pertaining to Vermette’s situation is as follows:
Any player who deliberately applies physical force in any manner against an official, in any manner attempts to injure an official, physically demeans, or deliberately applies physical force to an official solely for the purpose of getting free of such an official during or immediately following an altercation shall receive a game misconduct penalty and the guidelines set out in Rule 40 – Physical Abuse of Officials are to be applied
Rule 40 has three specific tiers of automatic suspensions. Sportsnet confirmed that Vermette was thrown out according to a Category II offense, where “physical force is applied without intent to injure,” including at least a 10-game suspension. Vermette can appeal the suspension.