Only two games after patching up their defense by trading for veteran J.J. Daigneault, the Mighty Ducks are back where they started after Daigneault was hit with a 10-game NHL suspension Wednesday for “abuse of an official” for hitting referee Don Koharski with his stick Sunday against Vancouver.
The length of the suspension is a blow to the Ducks, who are fighting for a playoff spot with 20 games left.
“Although the initial slash by Mr. Daigneault appeared to be reactionary after the collision with referee Koharski, the contact was serious enough to warrant this suspension,” NHL Senior Vice President Brian Burke, the league’s chief disciplinarian, said in an NHL release. “The second slash, although there was no contact made, was clearly deliberate.”
Daigneault has 72 hours to appeal.
“I’m very disappointed, because I’m really not that type of player,” said Daigneault, who said he didn’t realize Koharski was behind him when he swung his stick the first time but wouldn’t comment on whether he saw him the second time.
Daigneault, who earns $650,000, could lose about $75,000 in salary. He also was fined $1,000.