The National Hockey League (NHL) Commissioner Gary Bettman upheld the one-game suspension that was charged to Carolina Hurricanes’ forward Nino Niederreiter for slashing Washington Capitals forward Axel Johnsson Fjallby. The incident occurred during the National Hockey League game no. 978 in Carolina on March 18, 2022.
The incident occurred at 13:43 of the first period, as Niederreiter was assessed lightly for slashing Johnsson. Niederreiter was suspended for slashing the Capitals forward when he was still on the bench. The suspension was handed out more than a week ago and Neiderretier had already missed a game, but shortly after returned to the lineup.
The Hurricanes forward’s filing for an appeal is suspected to be just a show to clear his record and recoup the forfeited salary. The Department of Player Safety called the incident a “controlled, and purposeful stick swing directed toward an opponent on the bench” and worthy of a suspension, even with a relative lack of force.”
Gary Bettman’s standpoint and Nino Niederreiter’s appeal
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman explains in the two-page resolution: “Mr. Niederreiter has no history of the supplemental discipline in his ten (10) year NHL career, and his demeanour during the hearing was remorseful and respectful. However, I cannot discount the intentional, retaliatory, and potentially dangerous nature of his action. I accept that this was not a forceful act; however, the onus is on Mr. Niederreiter as a Player on the ice not to engage with Players on the bench, even if the Players on the bench engaged with him and especially when contact is with a Player who is unsuspecting and not involved.
“Moreover, even while I accept Mr. Niederreiter’s statement that his slash was not forceful, any intentional use of a stick to make contact with a Player’s neck or head is unacceptable, and certainly with a Player on the bench. While Mr. Jonsson-Fjallby was not injured in this instance, a matter of centimeters could have led to a dramatically different result.”
Niederreiter forfeited just over $26K for the ‘slashing’ incident and will later have it added to his supplementary discipline history. It will be further considered in future rulings, in case of another incident. Meanwhile, on Monday he will be back on the ice to play against the Capitals.