Komets forward Brad MacMillan will have plenty of extra time for holiday shopping this year.
International Hockey League Vice President of Hockey Operations Brad Jones suspended MacMillan 15 games on Monday for his part in Saturday's altercation against Muskegon. MacMillan left the penalty box and pushed a linesman out of the way to fight Lumberjacks' Jason Lawmaster.
Muskegon's Robin Big Snake was suspended for 12 games and MacMillan, Big Snake and Lawmaster all received undisclosed fines. During their suspensions, the players continue to count against a team's salary cap and 20-man active roster. They continue to receive their salaries.
“It's not a surprise,” MacMillan said. “I knew I was getting suspended, but I'm a little disappointed by the fact that Lawmaster gets no suspension out of this. I wouldn't have changed anything I did besides not touching the official.”
The suspension is the longest for a player in the Komets' 58-year history.
The incident started with MacMillan sitting in the penalty box for a roughing call after punching Muskegon's Robin Bouchard in the face behind the Lumberjacks' net. During that incident, the Komets' Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock also fought Muskegon's John DiPace.
On the next faceoff, the Lumberjacks' Big Snake then hit Komets center Colin Chaulk from behind and started hitting him, and Lawmaster jumped Komets forward Konstantin Shafranov and hit him several times as Shafranov was on the ice.
After Lawmaster was pulled off Shafranov and was being escorted to the penalty box, MacMillan came out of the Fort Wayne penalty box for the second time and fought Lawmaster. Then Big Snake came out of the Muskegon penalty box to taunt MacMillan. Before he had been put into the penalty box, Big Snake had tried breaking away from a linesman.
Jones, who was at Saturday night's game, said he contemplated his decision for two days before announcing the suspensions. One option was to suspend MacMillan and Big Snake for more than 20 games because leaving the penalty box and abuse of officials each call for 10-game suspensions in the rule book.
“I felt that the situation that occurred behind the net, the preceding altercation, could have been handled a little bit differently which could have played a role in this,” Jones said. “After looking at the tape and speaking with the referee (Ryan Wood), it was a thing where he had seen a couple of punches, the linesmen came in, and then he turned his focus to the other fight and didn't see anything further. That situation could have been called differently.”
Big Snake said after the game he was sending a message about MacMillan's actions against Bouchard.
MacMillan will next be eligible to play Dec. 18 against Quad City. He'll miss three games against Muskegon.
“I don't have a problem with what Brad did,” Komets General Manager David Franke said. “He came to the aid of a teammate. He knows in the future he has to stay in the box and let the guys on the ice handle this.
“The one thing we can't do is let the league turn into a ‘Slapshot' type of deal, and I think that's one of the reasons Brad Jones ruled as harshly as he did. We want more physical play, but we don't want Pier 6 brawls and we don't want abuse of officials. I also think the league ruling is fine except Lawmaster in my opinion should have gotten a suspension.”
Komets receive honors
Nick Boucher of the Komets was named the IHL's Goaltender of the Week, and defenseman Frankie DeAngelis was named Defenseman of the Week on Monday. Boucher made 26 saves and allowed one goal on Saturday against Muskegon, and DeAngelis had a goal and three assists in two games.
Bloomington's Craig MacDonald was named the Player of the Week.