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Peca to appeal 10-game suspension on Thursday

Darren Dreger
10/15/2008 8:57:57 AM
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Michael Peca will plead his case on Thursday at 11am et in New York when he meets NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to appeal the automatic 10-game suspension he was assessed under Category 2 for abuse of an official during last Friday's game in Dallas.

Category 2 acknowledges the officials felt strongly at the time, the physical force Peca used was worth more than a three-game suspension which follows a Category 3 violation.

The fact that the Blue Jackets appealed the suspension brings the commissioner into the mix and following Thursday's hearing Bettman will have the power to do one of three things.

He can stick with the rule book and uphold the ten-game suspension, he can tack on additional games - which is regarded as highly unlikely - or he can cut the punishment down to a minimum of three games.

The incident wasn't televised, so the NHL had to search for video to support referee Greg Kimmerly's game report which identified Peca's abuse.

The Blue Jackets admit Peca grabbed Kimmerly's arm to get his attention in an effort to argue a missed call.

Peca was tripped by Stars captain Brenden Morrow, who seconds later scored on the power play to make it 2-0. The Blue Jackets went on to win the game 5-4 in overtime.

NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell says simply, "you can't touch an official," and adds the league is sensitive when it comes to protecting this group.

The hearing will include the entire on-ice officiating crew consisting of referees Kimmerly and Mike Hasenfratz along with linesmen Shane Heyer and Jonny Murray.

Stephen Walkom, the NHL's Director of Officiating is also expected to attend.

Darren Dreger

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