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Alexander Perezhogin - Another black eye for hockey
Marty McSorley and Todd Bertuzzi have been guilty of the two most violent acts in recent hockey history. But Alexander Perezhogin might now be near or on top of this infamous list with an extremely violent attack in an American Hockey League (AHL) playoff game. The incident happened as the Cleveland Barons were taking on the Hamilton Bulldogs in game 5 of the North Division playoff semifinal. Barons defenseman Garrett Stafford and Bulldogs forward Alexander Perezhogin were tangled up in the front of the net, Stafford was knocked down and took a swing at Perezhogin, missing the Hamilton forward. Perezhogin turned around an lay a vicious two handed swing at Stafford's head, hitting the defenseman in the face with his stick, causing severe lacerations and a third degree concussion as Stafford lay convulsing on the ice. Stafford was attended to by paramedics as a melee ensued on the ice.
The game continued to be chippy, with a wild third period that featured 88 penalty minutes and numerous fights. Even the goalies, Cleveland's Nolan Schaefer and Hamilton's JF Damphousse, went at it. After the game, league officials suspended Alexander Perezhogin indefinitely and Greg Stafford was taken to a hospital in Hamilton. He has since been transferred to a medical facility in Cleveland and is not in any danger. Stafford who is one of the best Baron defensemen will likely see his injuries keep him out of the AHL playoffs for a yet to be determined time.
Perezhogin who was drafted 25th overall in 2001 by the Montreal Canadiens is still awaiting his fate at the hands of AHL officials and will likely receive a lengthy suspension.
Perezhogin got the punishment he deserved, but I am disappointed that the league did not suspend Stafford as well. Just because you miss when you swing at someones head does not mean you should get away with it. If Perezhogin had lifted his head a second sooner the situation may have been reversed. Send a message and give Stafford 10 games.
I believe Stafford got a suspension as well (5 or 6 games?).