International Hockey League Commissioner Bud Poile surprised the Golden Eagles late Thursday afternoon when he issued his statement regarding Saturday's incidents that occurred at 19:47 of the third period of a 5-3 Eagle win over the Denver Rangers in the Salt Palace.
Among other things, he suspended Eagles Martin Simard for 10 games and Stu Grimson for one.The Eagles consider the ruling unfair, and Coach Paul Baxter said, "We're investigating the appeal process, and I'll have a comment on it after that." He said the parent Calgary Flames will probably aid in his appeal.
Poile ruled that both Ranger Mark Janssens and Simard are "ineligible to participate in the remaining regular-season games" between Denver and Salt Lake. That's 10 games.
Poile suspended Grimson for a game; Grimson received a cross-checking minor penalty for hitting Janssens at 19:47. It was during the ensuing faceoff that Simard and Janssens fought, Janssens was pushed over backward, his helmet flew off as his head neared the ice and his bare head struck the ice, causing a concussion, momentary seizures and a small blood clot.
Janssens' hockey future is questionable, and he certainly won't be able to play for a while, maybe not for the rest of the season.
Since Janssens may never serve any of his suspension, even if he plays again next year, the Eagles say the sentence is unfair because Poile's message placed the blame equally: "After thorough investigation, it is my opinion that the unfortunate injury to Janssens occurred during an altercation between two willing participants."
Poile told the Deseret News by telephone Thursday, "This type of thing (altercation) happens quite often. You don't get injuries often. I just don't want it to happen again.
"I'm trying to do something so it won't happen again, and maybe we'll get through to some people - but how do you do that when both people are willing? The unfortunate injury was due to an altercation."
Poile also upheld the $100 fines for gross misconducts issued at 19:47 to Denver Coach Peter Mahovlich and player Jayson More for comments to the referee.
The Rangers and Eagles meet again in the Salt Palace Saturday night.