The Anaheim Ducks’ right winger Corey Perry has received a 4-game suspension without pay by the NHL for a hit he laid on the Minnesota Wild’s Jason Zucker Tuesday.
The loss of Corey Perry due to suspension comes just one day after losing goaltender Viktor Fasth to injury. Fasth was expected to start against the Wild but suffered an upper-body injury during morning skate and was scratched from the game. Fasth is day-to-day and Jonas Hiller will receive the majority of starts in his absence.
Hits like Perry’s on Tuesday are never a pretty sight and always raise questions about harsher punishment. Hockey is notorious for being a gritty game, so defining the line between good and bad checks has been difficult for NHL officials.
Jason Zucker had five points in 11 games with the Wild before being hammered by Perry in the second period of Tuesday’s contest. Perry leveled Zucker just over four minutes into the second and was called for interference on the hit and also given a game misconduct.
Corey Perry went at Zucker full-throttle before hitting him in the head with his elbow. Zucker immediately fell to the ice and was down for several minutes before leaving the game. After the game, Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yao didn’t comment on Zucker’s condition or the hit, having not seen the replay enough.
Here’s the video of Perry’s hit:
The Ducks went on to win the match-up with the Wild 2-1 for their fourth straight win. Corey Perry is second on the team with 24 points behind Ryan Getzlaf and leads the team with 61 shots on net and five powerplay goals.
This is not the first time Corey Perry has been suspended for a devastating hit, as he was suspended for four games back in 2009 due to a hit on Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers. According to the NHL, Perry will forfeit $115,135.12 during his current suspension.
The NHL has handed out nine suspensions since the start of the lockout-shortened season. Patrick Kaleta of the Buffalo Sabres was the last to player to be suspended before the Perry hit on Zucker Tuesday.
Corey Perry’s suspension will more than likely not be the last this season as three have been handed out since the beginning of March alone. The Flyers are the only team with multiple player suspensions on the year, with Brayden Schenn and Harry Zolnierczyk missing games due to charging incidents.
The Anaheim Ducks are currently second behind the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference with a 19-3-3 record. Corey Perry’s suspension wasn’t shocking at all, as the reckless hit on Zucker sent a bad message to the NHL and will leave the Ducks without their star winger after one of the best starts in franchise history.