Ex-NHLer Nick Ritchie Suspended 8 Games in Liiga for Repeated Opponent Punching
Ex-NHLer Nick Ritchie Suspen...
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Ex-NHLer Nick Ritchie Suspended 8 Games in Liiga for Repeated Opponent Punching

30 December 2023
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Ex-NHLer Nick Ritchie Suspended 8 Games in Liiga for Repeated Opponent Punching

Ritchie's Reign of Fists

In a dramatic turn of events during his 10th game with Karpat in the Liiga season, former NHL forward Nick Ritchie, 28, finds himself suspended for eight games. The suspension stems from a heated incident in which Ritchie repeatedly punched TPS forward Markus Nurmi in the head.

In the December 28th matchup between Karpat and TPS, with less than two minutes left in the second period, Nick Ritchie and TPS forward Markus Nurmi engaged in a physical battle along the boards. Despite Karpat leading 4-3, tensions rose as Ritchie pushed Nurmi to the ice and delivered a series of head punches, dislodging Nurmi's helmet.

It's crucial to note that fighting is strictly prohibited in international hockey, including the Liiga in Finland. Ritchie, already facing holding and cross-checking penalties earlier in the game, was deemed the aggressor under Rule 46.4 of the Liiga and IIHF rulebook. The consequences were severe, with Ritchie receiving a five-minute major penalty and a 20-minute game misconduct.

Ritchie has the option to appeal the eight-game suspension, adding a layer of uncertainty to his immediate future with Karpat. The incident raises questions about sportsmanship and adherence to the rules of international play.

From Orangeville, Ontario, Nick Ritchie, selected 10th overall in the 2014 NHL draft by the Anaheim Ducks, has played 481 NHL games, contributing to teams like the Ducks, Bruins, Maple Leafs, Coyotes, and Flames. Joining Karpat this season after a St. Louis Blues PTO release, he's recorded one goal and five assists in 10 games.

Despite Ritchie's actions, Karpat secured a 5-3 victory in the game. The incident highlights the challenges of maintaining discipline and fair play in a sport known for its physical intensity.

Interestingly, this recent incident follows a pattern of disciplinary actions in the league, with Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Erik Gudbranson also facing suspension for an altercation with Florida Panthers forward Nick Cousins earlier in the season. As the league addresses these incidents, it underscores the ongoing importance of enforcing rules to maintain the integrity of the game.

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