Mike Russo of the Minnesota Star-Tribune is reporting that Wild forward Nick Johnson will not receive any additional punishment for his alleged “headbutt” on Calgary’s Jarome Iginla last night.
The incident occurred during a second period scrap with Minnesota up 2-0:
Johnson received five minutes for fighting and an additional 10 (match penalty, intent to injure) with the headbutt coming around the 40 second mark of the video.
The big debate is if Johnson’s actions were egregious enough for a match penalty…or if the match penalty was a result of Iggy working the officials.
“It just felt I got head-butted. I haven’t had that very often in a fight. I thought the refs made the right call, and that pretty much was the end of it,” Iginla told reporters afterward. “You just kinda get fired up in a fight, and I felt like he got me there a couple of times with the head. I thought the refs saw it, made the right call, and that was pretty much the end of it.”
Wild head coach Mike Yeo disagreed with the call (Russo also disagreed, for whatever that’s worth), suggesting that Johnson was merely trying to protect himself during a fight.
I guess the tricky part for Brendan Shanahan and the NHL’s discipline/player safety department is they just nailed Buffalo’s Patrick Kaleta for serial headbutting. That said, there’s a big difference between the moves Kaleta pulled and what Johnson did last night. Johnson was jerking his head around during a fight; Kaelta was launching himself at unsuspecting opponents with his helmet on (and was caught doing it on three separate occasions.)
UPDATE: Russo also reports the Wild plan to make a formal request to Terry Gregson, NHL Director of Officiating, to rescind the match penalty.