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Hartman denies Perfetti's accusation, but adds 'I’m not sorry he got hit in the face'

Adam Lowry and Ryan Hartman Adam Lowry and Ryan Hartman - Getty Images

Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman has denied Cole Perfetti's accusation that he admitted to high-sticking the Winnipeg Jets forward intentionally as retaliation for teammate Kirill Kaprizov's injury.

“It’s written on the wall that he’s wearing a mic,” Hartman told Michael Russo of The Athletic after Thursday’s 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. “I know he’s wearing a mic all game. He comes up to me multiple times and asks me if I did it on purpose. And finally, all I told him was, ‘I’m not gonna say it wasn’t on purpose.’

“So I didn’t tell him, ‘Hey, I did that on purpose.’ He kept coming up to me, and I finally said, ‘I’m not gonna say it wasn’t on purpose.’ That was the extent of it.”

Hartman was not penalized on the play, but received a maximum fine of $4,427.08 from the league on Tuesday.

Perfetti said after the fine was announced that Hartman told him the high-stick, which came just after the puck was dropped on a faceoff, was in retaliation for uncalled cross-checks by Jets blueliner Brendon Dillon that injured Kaprizov when the two teams played one night earlier. 

"He said it in kind of a respectful way. No disrespect, nothing against you, it had to happen for what happened to Kaprizov there," said Perfetti, who required stitches from the high-stick. "Kind of a weird thing to come out and admit it. He blatantly said it was for what happened (Saturday), even though I didn’t even do anything in the play. I had nothing to do with it."

"We caught it all, we caught the whole convo," he added. "I was mic'd up, so I don't know if he realized that or not. I mean, they're supposed to get notified but to come out and blatantly say it to the mic, it worked out in our favour."

'I’m not sorry he got hit in the face'

Hartman's growing feud with the Jets dates back to last season, when he received a one-game suspension for interference after injuring Nikolaj Ehlers in Winnipeg's second last game of the season. Ehlers missed four of the Jets' five playoff games as a result of the injury. 

“I’m trying to be better on draws,” Hartman said of the incident with Perfetti. “The kid comes in with his head really low, and I’m trying to be hard on the puck and hard on him. So you can take that any way you want.

“On my Ehlers suspension, Ehlers runs Kirill behind the net, so I make a hard, clean hit on Ehlers after I have the puck. And, obviously, with this play, how it happened, I’m not sorry he got hit in the face. It happens on faceoffs. And as far as what I said, that I’m not going to say it wasn’t on purpose, if I can say something to get them fired up and get them to retaliate, I’m not going to apologize to the kid or say it was an accident. I’m going to try to fire them up.”

Hartman has 11 goals and 18 points in 32 games with Minnesota this season, his fifth with the team. The 29-year-old was suspended two games earlier in the season for tripping Detroit Red Wings forward Alex DeBrincat

The two teams are next scheduled to meet on Feb. 20, when the Jets host the Wild.