Red Wings' Tyler Bertuzzi suspended two games for sucker punching Avs' Matt Calvert from the bench
Bertuzzi delivered a cheap shot on Calvert during Sunday's game
Tyler Bertuzzi has been suspended two games as the result of an incident that occurred during Sunday's Avalanche-Red Wings game in Detroit, the league's Department of Player Safety announced Monday night.
With the Avalanche leading 1-0 near the tail end of the third period, Colorado's Matt Calvert was checked toward the Detroit bench. Calvert's stick was sent flailing into the bench area, where it was grabbed by a couple of Red Wings players -- an illegal but not all that uncommon interference practice used by opposing players.
Calvert was understandably irked by Detroit's refusal to let go of his stick, and he aggressively attempted to jerk it free to no avail. Eventually, as he grew increasingly antagonized, he appears to jab Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi in the gut with the blade of the stick, and that sent the confrontation into overdrive.
Dylan Larkin and Bertuzzi both grab ahold of Calvert and pull him toward the bench. While Larkin seems more interested in keeping Calvert tied up in a relatively innocent headlock, Bertuzzi was clearly much angrier. The 23-year-old Detroit forward decided to take the opportunity to shed a glove and deliver a bare-knuckle cheap shot.
Somehow, Bertuzzi managed to escape the incident without being penalized, but the league handed down the two-game ban under the "roughing/unsportsmanlike conduct" classification on Monday. In a video announcing the decision, the league cited "the intentional nature of the punch and the force with which it's delivered" as the driving factors behind the suspension.
While both sides aren't completely innocent in the skirmish, Bertuzzi was clearly the most out of line and he'll have to miss a couple of games as a result. The Red Wings host the Lightning in their next contest on Tuesday night (7:30 p.m. ET and available to stream on fuboTV).
The incident wasn't the only noise that Bertuzzi created with his fists during Sunday's third period. He also dropped the gloves in a more legal and acceptable fashion when he fought Colorado's Ian Cole a few minutes into the final frame.
The scrappy Bertuzzi has been a surprisingly strong contributor to the Red Wings lineup in his second official NHL season, tallying nine goals and seven assists through the first quarter and change of the season. The young forward had just seven goals and 17 assists in 48 games last year.
You may recall that this isn't the first time a Bertuzzi has been involved in a cheap play involving the Avalanche. Back in 2004, Tyler's uncle, Todd Bertuzzi, delivered a reprehensible sucker punch to Avs defenseman Steve Moore from behind before driving his face into the ice and breaking his neck. It's regarded as one of the ugliest incidents in league history and Moore never played a game in the NHL again.
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