The NHL has suspended Edmonton defenseman Corey Potter two games for boarding Anaheim’s Nick Bonino on Sunday night, according to Sportsnet’s Mark Spector.
UPDATE: Department of Player Safety has made it official. “At no point throughout this play does Potter see anything but Bonino’s numbers,” the video states. “It is also important to note that Bonino does not twist or turn in any way immediately prior to this check, to contribute to his being checked from behind.”
Here’s the video:
Potter had a telephone hearing this afternoon and the NHL’s Department of Player Safety ruled swiftly, suspending him a short while later.
Potter doesn’t have history as a repeat offender, and the fact Bonino wasn’t hurt on the play also factored into suspension length — the Anaheim forward left momentarily, but returned to finish the contest.
This is the second controversial hit Potter’s been involved with in recent days. On Wednesday, the Edmonton defenseman was drilled into the boards by Carolina’s Riley Nash, who was given five and a game himself. Nash wasn’t subjected to supplemental discipline from the NHL.
Potter will now miss Tuesday’s game in L.A. and Thursday’s in Colorado, eligible to return when the Oilers host the Blues on Saturday. He’ll also forfeit $7,948.72 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.
“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.
“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”
While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.
“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”
Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?
News and notes from around the crease…
Jones goes for San Jose
Martin Jones, acquired by the Sharks this summer, will make his first regular-season start for the club tonight against his old team — the Los Angeles Kings.
Jones, 25, spent the last two years in L.A. as Jonathan Quick‘s understudy. He was flipped to Boston at the NHL Entry Draft, then shipped to San Jose. Sharks GM Doug Wilson wasted little time locking Jones in — signing him to a three-year, $9 million extension — and Jones wasted little time locking up the No. 1 gig, putting together a stellar preseason.
For the Kings, Quick will get the start in goal.
Markstrom out for Vancouver
Jacob Markstrom wasn’t scheduled to start for the Canucks tonight — No. 1 Ryan Miller is getting the call — but the Swedish ‘tender won’t even dress when his club takes on the Flames in Calgary.
Markstrom suffered a lower-body injury at practice this week and is being held out of tonight’s action. In his place, the Canucks called up AHL netminder Richard Bachman, who’ll serve as Miller’s backup.
For the Flames, Karri Ramo is the opening-night starter.
Habs at Leafs: Carey Price vs. Jonathan Bernier
Rangers at ‘Hawks: Henrik Lundqvist vs. Corey Crawford