From the drawers of the Top Secret Fyles:
The National Hockey League has had its cases of so-called black eyes — situations that causes heads to turn mostly over violence — over the past few decades, but now instead of black eyes, the issue is a bloodied hand.
Los Angeles Kings forward Brendan Lemieux was handed a five-game suspension last week for biting Ottawa Senators forward Brady Tkachuk on the hand during a fight Nov. 27.
After the melee ended, officials saw bite marks and blood on Tkachuk’s hand, and Lemieux was handed a match penalty (deliberate attempt to injury an opponent), a game misconduct and was ejected.
Lemieux’s suspension was longer than normal from past biting incidents because while the linesmen tried to break up the fight on the ice, Lemieux continued to fester the skirmish, refusing to back off.
Tkachuk called Lemieux out after the game for his behavior.
“It’s outrageous,” Tkachuk said, per the Ottawa Sun. “Kids don’t even do that (bite) anymore. Babies do that. I don’t even know what he was thinking. He’s just a complete brick head. He’s got nothing up there. Bad guy, bad player, but what a joke he is.”
The rematch between the players won’t happen until the 2022-23 season, unless one of them gets moved before the March 21 trading deadline.
It’s interesting to note that there’s family lineage here. Both Tkachuk’s and Lemieux’s fathers, Keith, and Claude, respectively, fought each other when competing for the U.S. and Canada during international play 25 years ago.
Of the some notable past biting incidents in the NHL, the offender’s suspension was usually from one to three games. This was the last thing the NHL needed — a prolonged biting episode.
The league has made great strides cleaning up its image following years of benches-clearing brawls, players leaving the penalty box to join in fracases and opposing coaches being restrained following intense yelling matches from the benches.
These types of incidents keep the league from receiving full-scale, positive national media attention, mostly reduced to regional coverage in the U.S. but better coverage nationwide in Canada. The NHL never gets a sniff of coverage from ESPN and Fox Sports radio networks. You have to go to SiriusXM satellite radio for detailed coverage around the league.
Biting incidents are truly embarrassing for the league.
n Richie Rich’s Top 10 ranking in the NFL: 1. Cardinals; 2. Packers; 3. Patriots (played Monday); 4. Chiefs; 5. Bucs; 6. Cowboys; 7. Bills (played Monday); 8. Titans; 9. Ravens; 10, Rams.
Times sports copy editor Richard Fyle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org