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NHL Suspends Three in Separate Fights

From Times Wire Services

National Hockey League officials suspended three players who were involved in injury-causing fights last week.

Right wing Rick Tocchet of the Philadelphia Flyers was suspended for 10 games as a result of a match penalty he received for gouging the right eye of Dean Chynoweth of the New York Islanders on Thursday night.

Chicago Blackhawks forward Dave Manson was suspended for 10 games after being penalized for a deliberate attempt to injure when he kneed Dave Bruce of the Vancouver Canucks in the head Friday night.

Edmonton Oilers center Mark Messier was suspended for six games for fighting with the Canucks’ Rich Sutter last Monday.

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Brian O’Neill, NHL executive vice president, said Messier’s suspension will take effect Nov. 7 unless the team notifies the league within 24 hours that it will waive the appeal period.

The Blackhawks said they are considering an appeal to the ruling.

In another fight-related situation, Flyer officials said Monday they filed a protest with the league after Saturday’s game in which James Patrick of the New York Rangers broke Ron Sutter’s jaw.

Sutter, a Flyer center, also suffered a concussion and will be sidelined indefinitely.

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In both suspensions, O’Neill made it clear that the player had full responsibility in causing injuries.

“It is apparent that Tocchet did not show any restraint and used considerable force . . . as to cause a serious injury,” O’Neill said.

Tocchet, contending he was defending himself, said: “He hit me with an elbow in the face. He punched me and I was dazed, and I just started punching and grabbing him.”

Messier, who had 3 assists in the game and was not assessed a penalty, did not take premediated action against Sutter, O’Neill said in a statement.


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