10-day suspension looms for Ducks' Antoine Vermette after slashing incident with official

Ducks center Antoine Vermette is facing a 10-game suspension for abuse of an official.

The NHL is expected to announce supplemental discipline Thursday for an uncharacteristic incident by Vermette in Tuesday’s game, pending an appeal by Vermette. The NHL and NHL Players' Association reportedly held a conference call about the matter Wednesday.

Vermette was ejected against the Minnesota Wild when he slashed linesman Shandor Alphonso on the back of the legs in the third period following a lost faceoff. Vermette appeared frustrated that Alphonso dropped the puck early and looked at Alphonso for a moment before he struck him with his stick.

Under Category II of the NHL’s Rule 40.3, “Any player who deliberately applies physical force to an official in any manner (excluding actions as set out in Category I), which physical force is applied without intent to injure, or who spits on an official, shall be automatically suspended for not less than ten (10) games.”

Category I involves intent to injure and carries a 20-game suspension. Category III includes physically demeaning or threatening an official or throwing an object at an official and carries a three-game suspension.

Vermette, 34, has never been suspended and does not have a reputation for bad temper. He did not speak to reporters after the game. Perhaps the Ducks’ best forward acquisition from last summer, he leads the NHL with a 62.4 percent faceoff winning percentage among players with at least 600 faceoffs taken this season.

The Ducks recalled right wing Corey Tropp. They could put defenseman Sami Vatanen on injured reserve, retroactive to his Feb. 3 knee injury, even though he is nearing a return. The Ducks were off Wednesday.

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