Peca update

cbjlogonew.jpgIn the Jackets’ opener against the Dallas Stars, center Michael Peca was tossed out of the game. The NHL has suspended Peca indefinitely for violation of Rule 41, Physical Abuse of the Officials, category 2.

So what’s Peca’s side of the story? Via the Dog-patch:

“The only contact was me grabbing his arm to slow him down,” Peca said, “because he was skating away and I wanted to plead my case.

“They’ve claiming I hit (a) linesman with my stick after I hit the glass with it, which is completely false.”

Peca was apoplectic at the fact that the officials not only saw him get slew-footed by Morrow on a 5-on-3 (video here, the event occurs at the 04:15 mark), but that they continued to ignore the infraction even though Morrow was the one who scored the goal immediately after, while Peca was scrambling to get up and back into position.

The FSN coverage did not capture Peca’s confrontation with the officials, but a Dallas fan’s video did:

You can see Peca arguing his case starting at the 1:15 mark (right after the vid goes blurry and comes back into focus again). The video is a bit blurry and jumpy after the goal, but if you watch Peca, you can clearly see him skate around behind the net and tug on the official’s jersey to get his attention. Only someone using his wildest imagination would perceive this as a violent act against the official.

Here’s the best frame grab I could pull off (again, you can see this better in the video at ~1:16):

Not as clear as FSN high-def, that’s for sure, but clear enough to see that Peca did not “hit a linesman with his stick.”

Here’s a frame from a moment later, when he had skated in front of the officials:

It’s blurry, but you can see from this picture that:

  • Peca is not near the glass, so his stick could not have “bounced” off the glass and into an official.
  • Peca’s stick is being held in his left hand, with the blade on the ice by his right foot. He also appears to be be pointing up with his right hand (perhaps as if to say, “check the replay!!”)
  • It actually appears that the official’s hand is making contact with Peca. FWIW.

I suddenly feel like I’ve gone all Zapruder on you, and I don’t want to come off as if I condone violence against officials (well, officials not named Kowal, anyway). But it’s a shame that this is the situation that the league is using to exemplify the ref-protection rules. It’s the definition of “ticky-tac.”

Had this been a minor penalty, or even a game misconduct, it wouldn’t have been that big a deal. But to accuse a player of hitting you with his stick — when it didn’t happen — just because you were irritated when he tugged on your shirt sleeve is dishonest at best and malicious at worst. Furthermore, attempting to enforce a 10 game suspension on him just wrong.

Peca has appealed the ruling, which will be heard this week. Here’s hoping he comes back soon – the Jackets have suffered a bit in his absence (especially on PK duty).

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