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Red Wings’ Gustav Nyquist got off easy on suspension

In this week’s edition of “Men Behaving Badly,” Gustav Nyquist and Antoine Vermette, two players who normally are on their best behavior, found themselves answering questions from the NHL for their actions on the ice.

Nyquist, a forward with the Detroit Red Wings, was suspended for six games after high sticking Minnesota defenseman Jared Spurgeon in the face last Sunday. Vermette, a center with the Anaheim Ducks, received a 10-game suspension after slashing linesman Shandor Alphonso’s legs after losing a faceoff Tuesday in a game against the Wild.

The question is not whether the suspensions were justified, but who should sit longer.

Vermette’s 10-game suspension was clearly delineated in the NHL rulebook. There wasn’t much wiggle room for him to get a reduced sentence, even though he has appealed the ruling. No one would condone striking an official under any circumstances.

But should Nyquist have received equal if not more punishment? He had been cross-checked from behind earlier in the play, and his retaliation could have caused a serious injury to Spurgeon as the blade of Nyquist’s stick got under Spurgeon’s face shield and just missed his eye.

The fact that it did miss the eye should not be a factor in the decision. It was a blatant dangerous act and warranted more than six games.

If there’s a problem, it was that the two cases were adjudicated by separate entities within the NHL. In Vermette’s case, it went straight to the top. In Nyquist’s instance, the department of player safety meted out the punishment.

But Nyquist’s actions were more dangerous to the person he attacked than Vermette’s. Ten games would have been appropriate for Nyquist, too.

BROADCASTERS UPDATE

Two longtime NHL broadcasters dealing with medical conditions are traveling different paths.

Dave Strader, the Dallas Stars’ play-by-play man who has been battling cancer and missed most of the season, was scheduled to return to the microphone Saturday when the Stars hosted Tampa Bay. Strader has been diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma, a fairly rare and aggressive form of cancer. His treatment schedule allowed him to travel to Dallas and return to the booth for the five-game homestand.

The news isn’t as good for Bob Miller, the Los Angeles Kings’ Hall of Fame broadcaster. Miller, 78, suffered a stroke during NHL All-Star Weekend last month and has been resting since. The Kings are in the midst of a seven-game stretch, and Miller’s condition is expected to be re-evaluated to determine whether he can return. He had been working a restricted schedule after undergoing open heart surgery last year.

JAGR, CROSBY MILESTONES

Whether it’s because of skill, longevity or a combination of both, Jaromir Jagr became only the second player in NHL history to record 1,900 points.

Jagr, who turned 45 Wednesday, had an assist for the Florida Panthers, who defeated San Jose 6-5 in overtime. He joins Wayne Gretzky as the only players with 1,900 points. Gretzky has 2,857.

Jagr, who has played for eight NHL teams, has 760 goals and 1,141 assists in 1,685 NHL games for 1,901 points. He has 11 goals and 33 points in 57 games this season.

SEATTLE UPDATE

Seattle billionaire businessman Chris Hansen remains committed to a downtown arena and bringing the NBA back.

He also is interested in an NHL franchise if someone else puts up the money and invests in the cost of the arena project.

“We haven’t attempted to bid on an NHL team,” Hansen told The Associated Press. “Bidding on an NHL team is their own responsibility.”

Hansen said his group, which has five public members, including Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, will have an equity stake in the arena and a possible NBA franchise. His focus has been to restore the SuperSonics franchise, which left in 2008 for Oklahoma City.

Steve Carp’s NHL notebook appears Sundays. Contact him at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow @stevecarprj on Twitter.

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