Los Angeles Kings forward Brendan Lemieux will serve an unpaid five-game suspension for biting the bare left hand of Ottawa Senators forward Brady Tkachuk during Saturday’s 4-2 win, the NHL announced Tuesday. The suspension will force Lemieux to forfeit $38,750 of his salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
The third-period incident started with Tkachuk pushing Kings center Blake Lizzotte in the back after the whistle, prompting a confrontation with Lemieux. Tkachuk and Lemiuex began fighting then hit the ice, where Lemieux took a chunk out of Tkachuk’s left hand.
“This is not a hockey play,” the NHL said in its video explanation. “This is a player delivering a forceful, intentional and potentially dangerous bite to the bare hand of another player with sufficient force to puncture the skin. Such actions will not be tolerated.”
Tkachuk arose with not one but two bloody hands after the fight, telling officials Lemiuex bit both of them. The NHL couldn’t substantiate Tkachuk’s two-hand claim because of a “lack of evidence” but punished Lemiuex for biting Tkachuk’s left hand with a “substantial amount of force.”
“While circumstantial evidence supports the argument that Lemiuex may have bitten Tkachuk multiple times during this fight, we are limiting our review of this incident to the bite that occurs almost immediately after the players fall to the ice,” the NHL said.
The officials gave Lemiuex a match penalty immediately after the incident, continuing a growing trend of illegal play from the 25-year-old. Lemieux, who’s played only 14 games this season, is 14th among NHL skaters with 32 penalty infraction minutes.
Lemieux — in what was likely an attempt to reduce his suspension — told the NHL Tkachuk’s hands were bloodied from driving into his teeth, but the NHL didn’t agree with his assessment of the incident.
“The video evidence does not support this version of events,” the NHL said. “The video shows evidence of a biting motion by Lemiux onto Tkachuk’s hand consistent with the puncture marks that were identified postgame.”