In a notably slow and somewhat surprising decision, the NHL has suspended Duck forward Tim Sweeney for four games without pay for a Feb. 9 slashing incident against Calgary's Phil Housley, who suffered a broken little finger on his right hand. In addition, Sweeney was fined $500, the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement.
Sweeney and Housley received minor penalties for slashing on the play, and Duck Coach Ron Wilson said Housley slashed Sweeney first. But Brian Burke, NHL senior vice president and director of hockey operations said in a news release that Sweeney was punished because he caused the injury after he "shifted his stick to a baseball-type grip and administered a two-handed slash."
Wilson said he was "disappointed" in the suspension, especially after Edmonton's Bryan Marchment went unpunished after throwing an elbow that gave Duck center Bob Corkum a concussion.
Jim Gregory, the NHL vice president for hockey operations was at The Pond on Friday and said, "the thing we're trying to get through to the players is that they've got to be responsible for their stick."
Sweeney, who has one goal in eight games, started his suspension Friday.