© James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Bertuzzi Suspended 2 Games For Sucker Punch Against Avs [VIDEO]

Should Calvert be punished as well?

December 03, 2018 - 12:01 pm

Things got chippy in the Red Wings' 2-0 loss to the Avalanche on Sunday night, and Tyler Bertuzzi was naturally right in the middle of it. He dropped the gloves with Ian Cole early in the third period, but it's an incident that occurred later that had drawn the attention of the NHL and led to a suspension. 

When Avalanche forward Matt Calvert ended up in a scrum along the Red Wings bench, Bertuzzi, who was not on the ice at the time, dropped his right glove and punched Calvert in the face. It bears mention that Calvert first appeared to spear Bertuzzi in an attempt to get back his stick, which was being held by some of the players on Detroit's bench. 

The NHL announced Monday night that Bertuzzi has been suspended two games. A video released by the NFL Department of Player Safety says "the intentional nature" of Bertuzzi's punch and the "force with which it was delivered" are what led to the suspension.

The video says "this is not a reactionary or defensive play in any way."

The NHL referred to Bertuzzi's clean past in his young NHL career, citing the fact he has never been fined nor suspended previously.

Bertuzzi's act is being deemed a "sucker punch" around the NHL. 

Though he was not assessed a penalty when the play occurred, Bertuzzi appeared to be in violation of NHL rule 46.8:

"A misconduct or game misconduct penalty should be imposed on any player involved in fighting off the playing surface or with another player who is off the playing surface. These penalties are in addition to any other time penalties assessed, including the major penalty for fighting." 

In 27 games this season, Bertuzzi has nine goals and 16 points. His 28 penalty minutes are the most on the team.