(Ed. Note: Back via the red-eye from San Fran, exhausted but ready to roll. Big ups to Leahy for keeping the trains running on time. Gotta love the West Coast, and watching hockey with breakfast on a Sunday. Wonder if Dallas fans are appreciating what a contented, motivated and properly utilized Sean Avery can do for his team ...)
There were two incidents in yesterday's action that will likely get a look from the NHL's discipline czar. One is rather clear-cut: Caught on tape, penalized during the game and the sort of blatant infraction that leaves one only wondering about the duration of the suspension.
The other is a he said/he said war of accusations in the media. More on that in a moment.
First, defenseman Braydon Coburn of the Philadelphia Flyers is going to get suspended for crowning Nik Antropov of the New York Rangers behind the play. Should he escape additional punishment, it would rank among the biggest shockers of the season -- right up there with Andy Murray outlasting Guy Carbonneau and Ian Laperriere having more points than Joe Sakic.
Late in the second period, Coburn was given a match penalty for high-sticking and intent to injure, which resulted in an ejection from the Flyers' 4-1 loss at New York. The Flyers' defense of his action? Sure, it was a head shot; but it was a "glove-stick combination." From Philly.com:
A suspension is possible. "I would hope not," coach John Stevens said. "I asked him what happened and he thought he hit him more with his glove than anything else."
A few shifts before the incident, Coburn said, he was slashed in the face by Antropov - he had a nasty cut above his right eye - and that triggered his retaliation. "He started kind of skating toward me and I put my stick up to kind of protect myself," Coburn said. ". . . He kind of came at me and tried to turn at the last minute and I kind of reacted and kind of got him in the neck."
Coburn said he hit Antropov with "a glove-stick combination."
The top sports headlines of the day
Right, and Coburn was buzzed on Twinkies, too. Here's the play in question from NBC's coverage:
Glove, stick ... it was a deliberate shot near the noggin and behind the play. Coburn should get something; what's your guess? That said ... will Corey Perry's accusation that Evgeni Nabokov kicked him get the San Jose Sharks goaltender suspended?
The Sharks' 1-0 victory over the Anaheim Ducks yesterday was a physical affair. Perry is claiming that the physical play crossed the line when Nabokov allegedly kicked him in the arm with his skate in the third period.
"Everything was over," Perry said. "I was still lying there on my knees. All of a sudden, Nabokov just turned and kicked me. He rolled onto his side and kicked me with his right leg. He hit me with his toe."
Exactly a year earlier, the NHL handed Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger an eight-game suspension, the eighth of his career, for stomping on the leg of Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler during a game three nights earlier. "It's not allowed in this game," Perry said. "We've been on the other end of it. It is what it is. We'll see what happens."
While the league did not react to the originally undetected Pronger-Kesler incident until having received additional video from a Canadian television outlet, linesmen Shane Heyer and Lyle Seitz saw what Nabokov did, according to Perry.
"They know," Perry said. "They were standing right over the top of me. The play was over, I don't know, for 15 seconds."
Nabokov, who stoned the Ducks with 34 saves, including six against Perry, denied Perry's allegation. "I didn't kick him," Nabokov said. "I was moving my legs to get up, to get out of there, so whatever he was saying is his problem. ... Ask him what he did."
Perry went on to say that he fell on Nabokov's legs but that he wasn't attempting to do harm to the goalie.
Did the linesmen see the incident? No penalty was called during the game, which is always something in the accused's favor.
What could determine any supplemental discipline here would be if there was some Pronger-esque Zapruder film of Nabokov and Perry in the crease. If there isn't any, and the linesmen play dumb, then Perry's accusation won't lead to anything but scrutiny from the refs the next time these teams play.